In just the third time in his career, Novak Djokovic will play a tournament just a week before a Grand Slam begins as he has taken a wildcard to play at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. The Serbian who has won Wimbledon thrice is looking to get back to winning ways after an overall below-par season. Wimbledon begins on July 3 where Djokovic has won in 2011, 2014 and 2015. He has not played a warm-up tournament ahead of Wimbledon since 2010 as he opts to play Boodles Tennis each year.
When Djokovic takes court on grass for the first time this season, he will hope to turn things around from a disappointing first half of the season where things have not planned out on hard court or on clay. At Australian Open he lost in the second round and at French Open in the quarterfinals after being bageled by Dominic Thiem in the third set.
“This will be my first trip to Eastbourne, I have heard great things about the tournament,” said Djokovic, who will be the tournament’s top seed, in a statement from the tournament on Wednesday. “I am looking forward to fine-tuning my grass court game there ahead of Wimbledon.”
Djokovic has dropped his usually brilliant form ever since winning French Open last year – his first Roland Garros title – as he was beaten early by Sam Querrey at Wimbledon and lost his number one ranking to Andy Murray. Most recently he split with his long time coaching staff in a bid to improve things and saw Andre Agassi join him in the first week in Paris.
Djokovic will be joined on England’s south coast by France’s Gael Monfils and American duo John Isner and Steve Johnson as well as Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.