Simona Halep to Play at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park for the Nature Valley International
(May 10, 2018) World No.1 Simona Halep has confirmed she will return to Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park for the Nature Valley International, a British Tennis event. The combined WTA Premier and ATP 250 tournament will take place 22 – 30 June.
Halep’s entry into the Nature Valley International draw creates the potential final clash against world No.2 Caroline Wozniacki, 40 years after then-No.1 Chris Evert and No.2 Martina Navratilova contested their 1978 Eastbourne final.
Billed as one of the most important matches in their 15-year rivalry, that Eastbourne final saw the beginning of the end of Evert’s dominance over Navratilova, as Martina saved match point to defeat Chris 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 in a see-sawing grass court classic, before she went on to win Wimbledon a fortnight later.
At two wins to five, Halep and Wozniacki’s head-to-head falls some way short of Navratilova and Evert’s phenomenal 43 to 37 record, but their rivalry has already produced some impressive clashes, not least their three-set quarter-final at Eastbourne last year, and the thrilling three-set Australian Open 2018 final battle that saw Wozniacki overtake Halep for the No.1 spot in January 2018.
Halep opened her 2018 season with her sixteenth career title in Shenzhen and regained the top spot in the rankings on February 26, courtesy of a semi-final showing at Doha. She has since reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells and the quarter-finals at Stuttgart.
Halep is looking forward to the grass court season and her return to the south coast: “I loved my first year competing in Eastbourne at Devonshire Park and I’m hoping to progress even further this year,” she said. “The depth of draw the Nature Valley International attracts every year makes it the perfect lead-up event to Wimbledon.”
Tournament Director Gavin Fletcher is excited to welcome the world No.1 back to Devonshire Park: “We are delighted to have Simona returning to Eastbourne for the Nature Valley International,” Fletcher said. “She has played some of the most entertaining tennis on the WTA Tour so far this year, so it’s great to give our fans the opportunity to see the world’s top female player battling it out for the trophy.”
One of two WTA Premier level grass court events played in the lead-up to Wimbledon, the Nature Valley International features Evert, Navratilova, Justine Henin, and Kim Clijsters among its former champions.
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the BBC’s first Eastbourne telecast. In January, the BBC announced it will extend its existing partnership with the tournament for a further seven years until 2024, broadcasting coverage of both the WTA Premier and ATP 250 events, in a deal that sees live, free to air, coverage of the tournament across TV, radio and online.
Don’t miss out on your ticket to summer! Catch world-class players in action at one of the British Tennis events, formed of the Nature Valley Open, Nature Valley Classic, Nature Valley International, Fever-Tree Championships and Fuzion 100 Trophy Series. Secure your seat as tickets are selling fast. Book now at www.lta.org.uk/major-events