British No 1 Kyle Edmund will finalise his Wimbledon preparations by competing in Eastbourne’s Nature Valley International, it was confirmed on Monday.
The WTA and ATP 250 event finishes two days before the start of Wimbledon on July 2 and offers Edmund a chance to fine-tune his grass-court game.
Edmund, who cracked the world’s top 20 for the first time on Monday, has traditionally struggled on grass and has only ever won one main-draw match at Wimbledon.
He is determined this year to finally make an impression on home soil, and will also play at the newly-branded Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club earlier in June.
“Reaching a semi-final in the first grand slam of the year was a huge step forward for me, but as a British player, you always have an eye on the grass court tournaments and Wimbledon,” Edmund said. “For me, the Nature Valley International is the best way to prepare for my home grand slam.”
By way of inspiration, Edmund could look at last year’s example of fellow British No 1 Johanna Konta. Like Edmund, Konta had never looked at home on grass, but used a run to the Eastbourne semi-finals as a springboard to becoming the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semis in 39 years.
Konta’s recent struggles coupled with Andy Murray‘s expected absence will make the pressure even more intense on Edmund at this year’s Wimbledon.
For the moment though, Edmund’s focus is on the clay-court swing, which continues in Rome this week. Edmund plays his first-round match of the Italian Open on Monday against Malek Jaziri, fresh from beating Novak Djokovic en route to the quarter-final of the Mutua Madrid Open last week.
Now standing at a career high of No 19 in the world, a good run at the French Open could see Edmund ranked in the top 10 in time for Wimbledon. He has already made huge strides this year by reaching a first grand-slam semi and first ATP final.