Maria Sharapova confirmed to play at the Aegon Classic Birmingham!

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced that five-time Grand Slam Winner, Maria Sharapova will be joining the star-studded line-up at the Aegon Classic Birmingham.

Nature Valley Classic Hospitality - Maria Sharapova

The former world number one has recently came back from a 15-month drugs ban. The Court of Arbitration for Sport tested her positive for heart disease drug meldonium but said she is not an “intentional doper”. The ban had a massive effect on her world ranking, sadly going from number 1 to 211.

Maria is a national treasure as she won a Silver medal for Russia at the 2012 London Olympics.

The decision to make her a wildcard for the Aegon Classic Birmingham was controversial but welcomed by the majority of fans and players in the tennis community.

Former Chief executive, Michael Downey, said “Maria has served her ban in full and is now back playing high-quality tennis. There’s always a lot of debate about who we give wildcards to. Now Maria has earned direct entry into Wimbledon qualifying, we want to give British tennis fans the chance to see her compete on grass in Britain beforehand.”

Two-time Aegon Classic winner Sharapova said: “I am really excited to be coming back to Birmingham this year to play on the grass as part of my build-up to Wimbledon and I thank the LTA for this opportunity.”

She will be joined in Birmingham by world number one Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska and British number one Johanna Konta.

Birmingham Classic Hospitality

Eventmasters are delighted to be able to offer official premium Birmingham Classic Hospitality packages at this year’s event.

French Open Review

Just when you thought that Novak Djokovic was virtually unbeatable Stanislas Wawrinka stunned the Serb to take took the French Open title. Now, as tennis looks towards the build-up to Wimbledon, it is suddenly all to play for again.

That build-up centres on the Midlands, with Eventmasters providing official tennis hospitality for the WTA Aegon Open Nottingham at Nottingham Tennis Centre June 8-14; the Birmingham Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, a premier WTA event, June 15-21; and the ATP Aegon Open Nottingham event at Nottingham Tennis Centre June 22-27.

And it has the same official tennis hospitality packages at the Aegon International Eastbourne June 20-27.

A feast of VIP corporate packages on the table.

British No.2 Johanna Konta and compatriot Katy Dunne have been awarded wildcards for the main draw of the Aegon Open Nottingham. The brand new WTA International event, which began with qualifying over the weekend, will see some of the world’s best players including Agnieszka Radwanska take to the grass courts.

Konta, 24, broke into the world’s top 100 last year and qualified for the main draw of the French Open. British No.1 Heather Watson has been forced to pull out of the tournament with an elbow injury.

The Aegon Classic features 10 of the top 20 players in the world. In the strongest field the event has ever known there are three Grand Slam champions and two former world No.1 players.

Ana Ivanovic is joined by fellow Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova while current world No.2 Simona Halep is making her debut. They will be backed by the German trio of Andrea Petkovic, Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki as well as rising stars of women’s tennis Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza.

The Aegon International Eastbourne has six of the world’s top ten and a host of former champions. They include World No.5 Caroline Wozniacki, Keys, Ekaterina Makarova, Radwańska and Kuznetsova plus two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Meanwhile the Aegon Open Nottingham welcomes French Open semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who will be joined by world No.13 Gilles Simon and fellow former Grand Slam finalists David Ferrer and Marcos Baghdatis.

In total five of the world’s top 20 have entered with fans also getting the chance to cheer on home players James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Aljaz Bedene alongside rising star of men’s tennis Nick Kyrgios.

Wawrinka shocked Djokovic to win his first French Open title and thwart the world number one’s career Grand Slam hopes.

The Swiss eighth seed played magnificently in a 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory at Roland Garros.

Wawrinka, aged 30, brought an end to Djokovic’s 28-match winning streak as he claimed his second Grand Slam title.

Djokovic had been strong favourite after beating nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and third seed Andy Murray, but he was outplayed. It was a wonderful performance by Warwrinka.

In the women’s final, despite being sapped by a nasty flu for much of the week, Serena Williams beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 6-2 to win the French Open and claim a landmark 20th major.

It was an immense achievement for the 33-year-old American given she blew a 4-1 advantage in the second set and trailed 2-0 in the third. Always a fighter, she recovered, and now only the legendary Steffi Graf has more majors in the Open Era at 22.

With Williams going strong, Graf’s record is under threat.

Already Williams has won in Melbourne and Paris; she’s claimed five Wimbledon titles and is the three-time defending champion at the US Open. But no-one has won all four majors in a season since … you’ve guessed it, Graf in 1988.

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, commented: “I think it’s the most difficult thing to do in tennis. That’s why it doesn’t happen often. But as she won the first two, why not believe it’s possible? And second, with her, everything is possible.”

A terrific performance too from Safarova, the 13th seed who was making her debut in a grand slam final. She will undoubtedly be one of the stars of the Aegon Classic Birmingham and could potentially renew her rivalry with Ana Ivanovic, who she defeated in the semi-final at Roland Garros.

German World Cup star to appear in Birmingham?

Are we going to see German World Cup star Bastian Schweinsteiger on the sidelines at the Birmingham Classic? Where Eventmasters can provide official tennis hospitality for this brilliant event.

The Bayern Munich hero has been escorting Ana Ivanovic all week during the French Open in Paris.

And next she is one of the highest profile players on display at Edgbaston Priory Club June 13-21, where she will be defending the title she won last year. The Aegon Classic Birmingham will form part of the new British grass-court season, which will give the worlds best players chance to prepare for the Championships, Wimbledon.

The love match has been on since the Serb and the Bayern Munich midfielder officially announced themselves as a couple in February.

Photographed together in Munich, New York and Melbourne … and maybe Birmingham?

Schweinsteiger can regularly be spotted at Ivanovic’s games and recently had the Serbian word duso – ‘sweetheart’ – printed on his boots.

Eyes peeled too, all those rushing to take up VIP corporate hospitality packages, for Louis van Gaal – Schweinsteiger, aged 30, is linked with a move away from the Bundesliga champions, and is a possible transfer target for Manchester United.

What better for a spot of discreet negotiating than a quiet corner of the Skyview Suite overlooking the four show courts!

This year’s Aegon Classic features 10 of the top 20 players in the world.

In the strongest player field the event has ever known there are three Grand Slam champions and two former world No.1 players.

Ms Ivanovic is joined by fellow Grand Slam event winners Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova while current world No.2 Simona Halep is making her debut.

They will be joined by the German trio of Andrea Petkovic, Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki as well as rising stars of women’s tennis Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza.

Aegon Classic tournament director, Patrick Hughesman, said: “We are delighted at the strength of the player field and are excited for the action to begin. We are set for a world class week of grass court tennis.

“To have Grand Slam winners, former world No.1 players and the defending champion on show will provide a fantastic spectacle for the fans and hopefully inspire people in the area to play tennis.”

For more information our tennis hospitality packages please click here.

Birmingham Tennis Hospitality Networking Event

Great to listen to tennis star Greg Rusedski the other day – pictured with myself, Elliot Sheasby, one of the Eventmasters team.

Greg, a former British No 1, was guest speaker at a Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Premier members’ lunch at Chung Ying Gardens.

The occasion marked the Lawn Tennis Association, for whom he works as a talent and performance ambassador, becoming Premier members.

And the former Great Britain Davis Cup player urged businesses to support the Aegon Birmingham Classic 2015, which takes place at the Edgbaston Priory Club next summer.

We at Eventmasters are of course already fully behind the event.

Eventmasters will be Official Sales Agent for the Aegon Nottingham Open 2015 women’s International at Nottingham Tennis Centre June 8-14; the Aegon Classic women’s event at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, a WTA Premier event, June 15-21; and a new men’s Aegon 250 ATP event at Nottingham Tennis Centre June 22-28.

Greg was inspirational in backing Midlands tennis and the Women’s Tennis Association.

He told a gathering of some 100 people: “The Classic attracts some of the world’s top female tennis players and the superb grass courts and fierce competition makes this intimate tournament the ideal setting to enjoy a day of first-class tennis.

“The Club has undergone a transformation and viewing facilities and hospitality in the Skyview Suite are superb.”

Greg, a British-Canadian, represented Canada in the early years of his career, before changing to the UK. He was British No 1 in 1997 and again in 1999 and reached the ATP ranking of World No. 4. He reached the US Open final in 1997, where he lost to Pat Rafter, and received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in the same year.

Previous champions of the Aegon Birmingham Classic include Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic.

Eventmasters is putting together ticket and VIP corporate hospitality packages. For full details email: enquiries@eventmasters.co.uk or phone 0121 233 6500.

Howard Blow, from the Chamber’s sales and customer relationship team, said: “We are delighted to welcome the LTA as Chamber Premier members and it was a privilege to hear Greg speak.”

It all took place at Chung Ying Gardens in Birmingham city centre.

What a great occasion.

Bring on the summer; if you are interested in corporate hospitality at the Birmingham Classic, please click here. Alternatively we also have hospitality packages at the AEGON Nottingham Open and more fantastic tennis corporate hospitality options.