June 10, 2019 / 2:11 PM / 3 months ago

Venus Williams to make Birmingham debut

FILE PHOTO: May 26, 2019; Paris, France; Venus Williams (USA) in action during her match against Elina Svitolina (UKR) on day one of the 2019 French Open at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane

PARIS (Reuters) - Five-times Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will play in the Birmingham grasscourt event later this month after accepting a wildcard.

The American, 38, has never played in the competition before but will join French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and world number one Naomi Osaka in the draw as the build-up to Wimbledon continues.

“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,” the seven-times Grand Slam singles champion said.

Czech Petra Kvitova, a double Wimbledon champion, is also playing. Spain’s former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn because of a left leg injury. The tournament runs from June 15-22.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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