Nature Valley Classic logo

15 - 23 June 2019

Nature Valley Classic

Edgbaston Priory Club

Local time

Nature Valley Classic Preview: No.1 ranking on the line in historic Birmingham field

  • 2019 WTA Premier logo
  • 14/06/2019

  • Nature Valley Classic

The grass court season will move up a couple of gears in the build-up to Wimbledon, as some of the biggest names in the women's game gather at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, with the entry list as strong as it has ever been for one of the Premier events on the WTA Tour.

The Edgbaston Priory Club witnessed a fine victory for the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova last June, as she beat Magdaléna Rybáriková in a high-quality final. The biggest names in the game are now set to compete for the Maud Watson Trophy once again. 

Back the Brits

Johanna Konta will get her grass court campaign underway by playing in front of a home crowd in Birmingham, and she will look to bring her sparkling form from the clay court season onto the grass.

After her heroics leading Britain's Fed Cup team back into the World Group earlier this year, Konta played with renewed confidence as she delivered the best clay court season of her career by reaching the final of the WTA Premier event in Italy, before making it through to the semi-finals at the French Open.

Meet the top seeds

The three top-ranked players on the WTA Tour are set to take to the courts at the Edgbaston Priory Club, after world No.3 Karolina Plíšková confirmed she will join world No.1 Naomi Osaka and newly crowned French Open champion Ashleigh Barty in the draw. This will be the first time in the history, that the World No.1 and No.2 will be competing at the grass court event in Birmingham.

Naomi Osaka - This Japanese superstar was just 18 when she set foot on the grass courts in Birmingham in 2016, and she has lived up to her billing as one of the rising stars of the game by winning the US Open last year and backing that up with Australian Open success in January.

Ashleigh Barty - After her breakthrough Grand Slam victory at the French Open earlier this month, Barty is a player to watch as after making it through to the final at the Nature Valley Classic in 2017 and recently reaching a career high ranking of world No.2.

A winner in the WTA Premier event in Miami earlier this year, her rise to prominence in 2019 is all the more remarkable after she decided to take a break away from the game and turned her hand to professional cricket in 2014. 

Karolina Plíšková - This elegant player has enjoyed great success on grass courts, winning the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham in 2016 and backing up that triumph with a victory at the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne a year later. 

She lost a deciding set tie-break in the Birmingham final in 2015, and was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2016, so she will prove to be a real threat on this surface.

Elina Svitolina - Runner-up in the 2012 Girls' Singles at Wimbledon, the Ukrainian has reached the fourth round or better at all four of the major championships. 

She returns to the Edgbaston Priory Club for a fourth straight year, and will be keen to improve on her run to the quarter-finals last June.

Bianca Andreescu - One of the most talked about players of 2019, this 18-year-old won her first tournament on the main tour as she lifted the WTA Premier event at Indian Wells in March by beating Angelique Kerber in the final.

A legend takes centre stage

Venus Williams will make an appearance at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham for the first time in her illustrious career, after the five-time Wimbledon champion accepted a wildcard into this year's event.

"I'm really excited to be playing in Birmingham for the first time," said Williams. "I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament."

Now 38, Williams confirmed she is still a potent threat on grass courts when she reached the Wimbledon final in 2017, some 17 years after she won her first Wimbledon title at the All England Club.

Catch world class tennis courtside in Birmingham

Witness women's tennis live and secure your seat today - Centre Court tickets are available from £30 per person