Defending champion Madison Keys and former Grand Slam finalists Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova are set to join British star Johanna Konta at the Aegon Classic Birmingham this summer.
The trio of big-name players will appear alongside Britain’s No.1 Konta on the grass courts of the Edgbaston Priory Club from June 17-25 this year.
Keys lifted the Maud Watson trophy last year after defeating the Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova in straight sets to claim the title in emphatic style.
The American will have her work cut out to retain the trophy this year, with Halep and Safarova (finalists at the 2014 and 2015 French Opens respectively) joining world No.7 Konta in the chasing pack.
It’ll always be a special tournament for me and I know I can play well on those courts
“Winning the title in Birmingham last year was an unbelievable moment for me and I’m looking forward to getting back to defend my title,” said Keys. “It’ll be tough because you’re always competing against great players there but it’ll always be a special tournament for me and I know I can play well on those courts.”
Fresh from Konta her historic victory at the Miami Open, Konta will be bidding to become the first British women to lift the Maud Watson Trophy. The in-form 25-year-old is in for a busy summer of grass-court action after announcing she would also appear at the Aegon Open Nottingham and Aegon International Eastbourne in the run-up to The Championships, Wimbledon.
Entries for the main draw of the tournament close on May 8, with more big names likely to be added to the line-up in the coming weeks. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at a special ‘Early Bird’ price between now and Thursday May 4.
Patrick Hughesman, Tournament Director for the Aegon Classic Birmingham, said: “We’re proud of bringing some of the world’s best female athletes to Birmingham and we want to create an amazing showcase for them and for women’s tennis, as well as giving people a fantastic experience when they come to watch. Our goal is to match the world class sport with a world class day out.”
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand and Sponsorship Aegon UK, commented: “We look forward to once again welcoming the stars of the women’s game to the Aegon Classic Birmingham. The Edgbaston Priory Club has some of the best grass courts in the world and 2017 promises to be another memorable year.”