The tournament, which will take place from June 7 to 12 (the week following the French Open) , announced that Keys and Azarenka were to take part earlier today on their website. Both will making their first appearance at the tournament, which was contested for the first time last year.
Azarenka Aims For First Title On Grass
The entrance of Azarenka, a two-time grand slam champion and former world number one, is certainly a boost for the the tournament, with one of the biggest stars in tennis set to play.
Azarenka's positive thoughts about the tournament were revealed on the tournament's official website; "I'm really looking forward to playing the Aegon Open Nottingham tournament for the first time. I know the tournament was new to the calendar last year and I’ve heard great things from other players about the atmosphere, the city and what great preparation it was for the grass-court season ahead."
Surprisingly Azarenka has never won a WTA title on grass before. The closest the Belarussian has come to a title on the surface was at Eastbourne in 2010, where she lost in the final to Ekaterina Makarova. Azarenka is also twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon, losing to eventual champions Petra Kvitova in 2011 and Serena Williams in 2012.
Keys Looks To Build On Previous Grass Success
The American has had most of her success on Grass in the past. Keys won her only career title to date at Eastbourne back in 2014 and reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year.
Keys will undoubtedly be a threat at Nottingham in the summer and, like Azarenka, will be one of the favorites to win the Elena Baltacha Trophy.
Further Players Yet To Be Announced
With Azarenka and Keys the only two players yet to be confirmed for the tournament, several names should be announced in the coming weeks.
It will be interesting to see whether defending champion Ana Konjuh returns, whilst it will also be interesting whether world number three and last year's top seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, takes part once again. There will also probably be a heavy British representation; stars like Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Laura Robson could well enter the tournament.