| June 22, 2017 3:31 am
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic (Photo: AFP)
Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is to play at the ATP tournament in Eastbourne, southern England, in preparation for the grass-court Grand Slam, it was announced.
It will be the first time the struggling Djokovic has played a grass-court event between the French Open and Wimbledon since 2010.
The 30-year-old Serb saw his French Open title defence come to a surprise halt with a straight sets quarter-final loss to the up-and-coming Dominic Thiem on the clay courts of Roland Garros earlier in June.
Now, following what was his quickest exit from the French Open in seven years, 12-time Grand Slam champion is to play Eastbourne, which runs from June 23-July 1 after accepting a main draw wildcard.
"This will be my first trip to Eastbourne, I have heard great things about the tournament," 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said in a statement. "I am looking forward to fine tuning my grass court game there ahead of Wimbledon."
World No.4 Djokovic comes into the event as the tournament's top seed ahead of No.2 Gael Monfils and No.3 John Isner.
Originally a women's only event, Eastbourne has been expanded to include men's tennis as well and tournament director Gavin Fletcher said: "The quality of the men's and women's entries is already incredibly high, and the addition of Novak will take the event to an even higher level."
The WTA side of the tournament features seven of the world's top 10 female players including World No.1 Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova (No.3), 2016 champion Dominika Cibulkova (No.6), 2009 champion Caroline Wozniacki (No.8), and Britain's world No.7 Johanna Konta.
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