The world number one Naomi Osaka, the world number two and Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, the world number three Karolina Pliskova and just the five time Wimbledon champion making her first appearance in Birmingham Venus Williams are here.
Throw in Britain’s number one Johanna Konta who enjoyed an exceptional clay court season and also Petra Martic, Elina Svitolina and Maria Sakkari amongst others we have a cracking tournament on our hands.
Nothing short of winning here won’t do for me I’m afraid. It has been an up and down season. We haven’t seen her best since Melbourne and her game just seems to be lacking a bit of belief and I’m being honest saying getting to the third round in Paris was actually good as she got massively let off the hook in her first two rounds.
Do I think she will win here? If she brings her best then yes but that’s the big problem ‘if’.
Ash is my favourite here. Take away what she did in Paris and she is still my favourite. Her grass court game always been strong and add more confidence now to it especially with that major win she will be feared.
Ash is calm and collective. She has power in her game, her ground strokes are strong and flow with confidence and she has variety. It will take a big performance to beat Ash here.
A point to prove?
Title in Brisbane, Rome and finalist at Indian Wells but I still feel like were missing something. I thought at the beginning of the season when I saw her in Melbourne she was playing some of her best tennis. It has felt patchy. Injury and illness halted her clay court season until she won in Rome and Paris was a disaster in her defeat to Martic.
Former finalist four years ago here in Birmingham but despite her big serve and powerful ground strokes she hasn’t been as successful on grass as you’d expect and taking a wildcard here was the correct decision in her Wimbledon warm-up.
Wow, what a name to have!
5 time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is here. For the first time in her career she is coming to Birmingham having taken a wildcard and what a crowd this will draw to have one of the best women to have ever played the game in the city!
Brits – Heather, Harriet & Jo
Jo Konta fresh off her incredibly run in Paris and on the clay courts as a whole. Jo took the decision to miss Nottingham which was a good idea as we haven’t seen grass courts really this week at all.
Heather Watson and Harriet Dart are also in the draw as wildcards.