February 19, 2018 / 5:07 PM / in 9 months

Muguruza to play in Birmingham before Wimbledon title defense

FILE PHOTO - Tennis - WTA Premier 5 - Qatar Open - Finals - Doha, Qatar - February 18, 2018. Garbine Muguruza of Spain is seen in action against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

(Reuters) - Spain’s Garbine Muguruza will prepare for the defense of her Wimbledon title by playing the Birmingham Classic on grass in June, the tournament organizers said on Monday.

Two-times grand slam winner Muguruza, who defeated Venus Williams to claim her maiden Wimbledon title, will join British number one Johanna Konta and twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the field at Edgbaston Priory Club.

“Winning my first Wimbledon title was so special and I can’t wait to play in front of British crowds again,” the world number three, who reached the semifinals in Birmingham last year, said in a statement.

Kvitova is the defending champion at the WTA Premier tournament, which will be played from June 16-24.

The event precedes the Eastbourne International, which is a last chance for players to fine-tune their grasscourt game before Wimbledon.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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