British No 1 Johanna Konta has withdrawn from the Viking International, which starts next week at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne, to protect her troublesome right knee.
It’s a shame that Johanna won’t be able to join us this year at the LTA Viking International Eastbourne, we wish her the best with her recovery. “However, there will still be lots of Brits for fans to get behind, as well as world-class fields including five of the top ten women in the world. “We can’t wait to get started.” Gavin Fletcher, Tournament Director, Viking Classic Eastbourne
Konta, who won her first ever grass-court tournament in Nottingham on Sunday, has played in the last 8 Eastbourne events, going out to Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals of her two best runs at the tournament.
The 30-year old has suffered with knee problems in the past, with her 2019 and 2020 campaigns affected by injuries, but the World No 30 does not believe it will affect her participation at Wimbledon, which begins on 28 June.
She won her first WTA title since 2017 in Nottingham with a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 win over Zhang Shuai in Sunday’s final, the first Briton in 40 years to win a grass court event.
Konta then withdrew from this week’s Viking Classic Birmingham, and has opted not to play in her hometown of Eastbourne.
“I’m sorry I can’t make it to Eastbourne this year to play in front of my home crowd, but I can’t wait to play in front of you all next year,” Konta said.
Organisers are naturally disappointed Konta will be missing, but remain upbeat about the quality of the fields for both the women’s and men’s events.
Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said: “It’s a shame that Johanna won’t be able to join us this year at the LTA Viking International Eastbourne, we wish her the best with her recovery.
“However, there will still be lots of Brits for fans to get behind, as well as world-class fields including five of the top ten women in the world.
“We can’t wait to get started.”
The Eastbourne event, which starts on Saturday with qualifying, has a stellar line-up planned, with 6 of the world’s top 10 women fine-tuning their grass court skills in preparation for Wimbledon at Devonshire Park.
World No 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is the top seed and a 2018 finalist, while 2019 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin of the United States, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu from Canada and 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek of Poland are also in the draw.
Ukrainian World No 6 Elina Svitolina and defending champion Karolina Pliskova from Czech Republic, ranked 10, are also due to compete, while American Coco Gauff, who is still just 17 and made waves at Wimbledon in 2019 when she defeated American Venus Williams as a 15-year-old, will also make her debut at Eastbourne.