LAURA ROBSON is looking forward to an exciting week as she steps up her Wimbledon build-up at the Aegon Southsea Trophy.
She believes the new tournament at Canoe Lake will be an important event.
It is free entry for spectators with the matches starting today and continuing through to Friday when the final takes place.
Robson had a chance to have a hit on the courts with talented German player Andrea Petkovic ahead of the tournament and is expecting some exciting tennis at the impressive facility.
She said: ‘I’m happy to be here, the courts are really great this week, so hopefully the weather holds up and we will actually get to use them.
‘We’re really enjoying it. Good grass court tennis is really fun to watch as well.
‘Hopefully everyone comes along during the week and catches some matches.
‘We’re lucky to have the grass courts at our national centre so maybe we get a little bit more practice than some of the foreign players.
‘I know all the Brits really love playing at home and hopefully we just go well. Fingers crossed I’m ready for next week.’
Robson meets Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round in Southsea.
Fellow Great Britain player Katie Boulter faces Petkovic.
The top seed is Irina-Camelia Begu, from Romania, and she takes on China’s Xinyun Han as 16 players will compete in the singles.
There will also be doubles with Robson playing alongside Jocelyn Rae and they meet Makoto Ninomiya and Renata Voracova in the first round.
Matches are due to start from 11am today.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome helped to do the draw and believes it will be a big boost to have the tennis in the city.
He said: ‘It’s a great event to bring to Southsea and to Portsmouth and if the weather holds it should be great for people to come and watch.
‘It is a fantastic new facility, the pavilion is amazing architecture.
‘I’m back on Friday to present the trophies but if I can get down during the week to see a couple of games I would certainly love to do that.
‘People from the city need to come down and have a look.
‘It’s going to be a great week and if the weather holds it will be a brilliant week.
‘I hope everyone enjoys themselves and we have a good advert for Portsmouth and Southsea.’
Canoe Lake Leisure, host for the tournament, is a philanthropic community project set up in 2014 to safeguard the future of 12 natural grass courts which had been open to public for over 100 years.
The new pavilion will be opened for the first time during the tournament.