Ambassador Jo ‘excited’
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Jo Konta, the British No.1 was excited to confirm her intention to play the three-Wimbledon warm-up tournaments on grass this summer, the Aegon Open Nottingham, Aegon Classic (Birmingham) and Aegon International (Eastbourne).
Konta, who competes for Team GB in Fed Cup in Estonia next week has also been named official ambassador for British Tennis after breaking the world top ten over the past year.
The British No.1, beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in the recent Australian Open, said: I am excited to be playing these three tournaments, especially in front of the home crowds again. The grass court season is one of my favourites and this series of tournaments ahead of Wimbledon provides great preparation opportunities for me.
Playing at Devonshire Park is very special. I canÈt wait to get back on the courts, just a stoneÈs throw from my family home in Eastbourne.
Playing in front of a passionate crowd that is fully behind you is a special experience that not many players get: I know how lucky I am to be able to do that. The home fans really can make all the difference so I hope lots of people come out to cheer!
These events have an incredible history, you just need to look at the roll of honour to see that, and you can sense that when you step on court. With the recent commitment to a bigger and better series hopefully this great tradition will continue for many years to come.
On returning to Eastbourne, her home town tournament, she added: Playing at Devonshire Park is very special. I canÈt wait to get back on the courts, just a stoneÈs throw from my family home in Eastbourne.
IÈve seen exciting plans for the future of the venue, and with the men coming back this year it will no doubt add extra excitement. ItÈs always an amazing player field, and I’m sure the fans will enjoy lots of world class tennis.
Michael Downey, the outgoing LTA chief executive, said: We are thrilled Johanna has decided to commit to all three grass court events in the lead up to Wimbledon. We are also very excited to name her as an official ambassador for British Tennis, celebrating the inspirational effect she has on young people across the country. Starting in 2017, Jo will support our key youth participation initiatives such as Tennis for Kids and the Great British Tennis Weekend as we aim to capitalise on her phenomenal success and ability to inspire girls and boys everywhere.
The LTAÈs Director of Major Events, Oliver Scadgell, said: The 2017 pre-Wimbledon British grass court season is shaping up to be our best yet. Fans and players alike will experience significant improvements with new look events in Nottingham and Eastbourne, as well enhanced ITF WomenÈs Pro Circuit and ATP Challenger tournaments offering combined record prize money. The Î£44 million pound site re-development plans at Devonshire Park led by Eastbourne Borough Council are already underway, continuing to deliver on our promise to make all of our summer events bigger and better. This is great news for all the athletes, and in particular for EastbourneÈs finest, Johanna.”
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand and Sponsorship Aegon UK, added: We are delighted to hear the Johanna is playing at the Aegon tournaments ahead of Wimbledon. She is an incredible athlete and an inspirational role model for us all. The Aegon series of tournaments in May and June are an exceptional collection of tennis events across the country that bring fans up close to their heroes, including the British stars. We wish Johanna and all the players the very best of luck and canÈt wait for the great summer of British tennis to begin.
* Tickets for Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne are available from www.lta.org.uk/2017tickets.