Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka in line for Eastbourne – and could Andy Murray play too?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Never mind the entries, just look at the wild cards! Two of the best known names in current women’s tennis – Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka – have been given a passage into the Eastbourne Rothesay International tournament in a fortnight’s time.

Alongside a strong top 32 entry – including eight of the world’s current top 20 – tournament organisers and spectators alike will be thrilled at those two names. Emma Raducanu was still a teen when she raced flawlessly to the US Open title in 2021, and although injuries and other setbacks have shackled her talent since then, Wimbledon 2024 now beckons.

And there can be no better final preparation than the perfect green grass of the Devonshire Park. Osaka, meanwhile, will be a newcomer to Eastbourne as her relaunched singles career gains momentum. The former world Number One – a veteran at 26! – has four Grand Slams to her name.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The declared entry list brims with quality, including Devonshire Park favourites Jelena Ostapenko, Daria Kasatkina and 2023 title-winner Madison Keys.

Britain's Emma Raducanu in Wimbledon action - might she play at Eastbourne as a warm-up for this year's All England Championships? Photo by Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty ImagesBritain's Emma Raducanu in Wimbledon action - might she play at Eastbourne as a warm-up for this year's All England Championships? Photo by Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images
Britain's Emma Raducanu in Wimbledon action - might she play at Eastbourne as a warm-up for this year's All England Championships? Photo by Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

Which other players might have been on the wish list? In terms of characters as well as fine players, there is no Gauff this year, and no Jabeur - a shame in both cases. We have enjoyed Coco’s precocious talents at Eastbourne since the ridiculously young age of 15. She is a voice of her generation as well as a superb player, and now, finally out of her teens, she is conquering the tennis world.

And Ons Jabeur – equally an eloquent figure off-court – was utterly unknown in 2019 when taking Eastbourne by storm, defeating our own Johanna Konta on the way. Those two will grace Grand Slams for a good few years to come – and meanwhile Eastbourne will offer a stage for the next wave of talent.

Like all sports, tennis is ever evolving. Remember that we have not yet seen the list of entrants for the qualifying tournament on the first weekend, 22 and 23 June. Alongside some seasoned players who did not quite make the cut of 32, it will be bursting with young talent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For a big character in a quite little body, look for Jasmine Paolini. The 28-year-old Italian had just been enjoying a sensational Roland Garros, audacious, energetic and unafraid of anyone’s reputation. Her route to a Paris semi-final against another young prodigy, Mirra Andreeva, saw her despatch world number four Elena Rybakina - who happens to be the Eastbourne Rothesay top seed! . And when she wins, Paolini has the widest smile in tennis. Eastbourne will love her.

It might be something to do with the age profile of the Devonshire Park tournament regulars – and this is meant without the slightest disrespect – but they have a habit of adopting their favourite tennis daughters! They are a knowledgeable as well as sympathetic crowd, and they love the young hopeful, the adventurous outsider.

And, of course, they will be rooting for the Brits. Only Katie Boulter makes the seeded 32, but there is a little golden generation of British players who have grown up together: Harriet Dart, Jodie Burrage, Katie Swan among others.

On the men’s side there is talk that Andy Murray will include Eastbourne in his preparation for Wimbledon. Entries for the Men’s 250 Challenger event are imminent. Previous winners include the likes of Taylor Fritz and Alex De Minaur, now among the leading men in the world.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.