Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will make her debut at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham later this month. The tennis superstar has accepted a wildcard into the star-studded event, joining one of the strongest line-ups in the tournament’s history. 

When the WTA Premier tournament main draw gets underway on 17th June, Williams will be competing for her fiftieth career singles title. She faces stiff competition from current World No1 Naomi Osaka, newly-crowned Roland Garros champion and World No.2 Ashleigh Barty, defending Nature Valley Classic champion and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova. as well as in-form British No1 Johanna Konta and a host of other top players.

Williams has won a total of 24 Grand Slam titles – seven in singles, 14 in doubles as well as three in mixed doubles – and has been ranked No1 in the world. With five Olympic medals, including four golds, Williams is also the most decorated tennis player in Olympic history. 

Venus Williams said: “I’m really excited to be playing in Birmingham for the first time. I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament.”

LTA Nature Valley Tournament Director Patrick Hughesman said: “We are delighted to welcome Venus to Birmingham. Having so many big stars playing this year gives us a great opportunity to open tennis up to a new audience. Venus is a tennis legend in her own lifetime and she’s also a fantastic role model, whose impact reaches well beyond the sport.”

The Nature Valley Classic, an LTA summer grass court event, will take place from 15 - 23 June at the Edgbaston Priory Club, just fifteen minutes from the city centre, and has a unique place in the history of sport in the Midlands. It is the most prestigious annual women’s sports event in the region. Every year it attracts some of the biggest stars in women’s tennis as they play for a trophy named after Birmingham’s first women’s Wimbledon champion, Maud Watson.

Garbiñe Muguruza has been forced to withdraw from this year’s tournament with a left leg injury.  
To purchase tickets or to access more information about the LTA’s Nature Valley Classic, head to www.lta.org.uk/naturevalleyclassic. Centre court ticket prices start from just £12 for children under 16 and £30 for adults. Follow @LTA on Instagram, @LTA - Tennis For Britain on Facebook, or @the_LTA on Twitter to keep up to date with all the news surrounding the players’ journeys to the grass courts of Birmingham this summer.

Fast Facts about Venus Williams:
•    49 career WTA Tour and Grand Slam singles titles
•    22 career WTA Tour and Grand Slam doubles titles
•    Career prizemoney of $41,362,509 – second only to her sister Serena Williams in all-time prizemoney winners on WTA Tour
•    Won Wimbledon singles titles in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Runner-up in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2017
•    Won US Open singles titles 2000, 2001 and runner-up 1997, 2002
•    Australian Open runner-up 2002 and 2017
•    Roland Garros runner-up 2002
•    Olympic gold medals in singles: Sydney 2000; Olympic gold medals in doubles (with Serena Williams): Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, London 2012; Olympic silver medal in mixed doubles: Rio 2016
•    Ranked No.1 in singles in WTA Rankings for a total of 11 weeks 
•    US Fed Cup Team, 1999, 2003-05, 2007, 2012-13, 2015-16
•    Turned pro aged 14 (1994)

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