AEGON International: Kvitova forced to pull-out with illness

Defending Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has withdrawn from the AEGON International Eastbourne with illness

Kvitova was due to warm up for her title defence at Wimbledon with some grass court action at Devonshire Park this week but announced her withdrawal on Monday.

The 2011 and 2014 SW19 champion will now look to defend her title without any tournament grass-court matches.

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The Czech player said, “ I didn’t feel well when I came here on Thursday. I didn’t really feel the best, I have a sore throat. It’s not much better.

“It was the decision which I had to make to pull out of the tournament.”

But the 25-year-old is confident that she will be ready to defend her title next week in London.

“I hope so, I don’t need antibiotics so that’s a good sign. But I have to be in bed and drink hot tea, just lying around and resting.”

Kvitova will be staying in the Sunshine Coast a while longer before making her way up to London in preparation for Wimbledon next week.

“Of course I wanted to play some matches here, but it doesn’t really make any a sense to play and not to be ready for Wimbledon. Maybe getting more illness than I have now,” added Kvitova.

Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta made progress into round two with an encouraging display against Zarina Diyas on centre court at Devonshire Park on Sunday. She won in straight sets and will play former Eastbourne champion and world No.8 Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday. Former British No.1 Laura Robson made her return to tournament tennis on Saturday after 17 months out with a wrist injury.

Robson looked understandable rusty in her qualifying match against Russian opponent Daria Gavrilova as she slumped 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour on court one on Saturday.

As the Gazette went to press, play just started to get underway at Devonshire Park on Monday afternoon.

A Monday morning downpour delayed proceedings as British No.1 Heather Watson was due to be on centre court action in round one against Varvara Lepchenko on Monday.

Watson was second up on centre and was set to play her American opponent, who is ranked 38th in the world, after 2005 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her match against Slovakian qualifier Magdalena Rybarikova.