Ivanovic to play in Birmingham

Fernando Verdasco beats Feliciano Lopez in first round at Barcelona Open

Ivanovic will return to the grass courts of the Edgbaston Priory Club from June 15 for the WTA Premier tournament as defending champion.

The event falls in the three-week window between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, part of an extended British grass court season which will enable players to make the transition from the Parisian clay to the faster grass courts.

???I???m really excited and looking forward to coming back to defend my title at the Aegon Classic Birmingham, I had such a great time there last year,??? Ivanovic said.

???It was my first title on grass and I had such a warm welcome from everybody.??

???The tournament has a really friendly atmosphere and I can???t wait to experience all of those emotions again and have fun in this great city.???

Tournament director Patrick Hughesman said Ivanovic???s win in 2013 had won her a new following in Birmingham.

???We are delighted to welcome Ana Ivanovic back to defend her title at the Aegon Classic Birmingham this year,??? Hughesman said.

???Ana put on a fantastic performance in 2014 on her way to the title and won a lot of fans in doing so.???