ATP Eastbourne: Novak Djokovic accepts a wildcard at the Aegon International ahead of Wimbledon

Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has opted to play at the ATP 250 level event at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, as he looks to get some matches under his belt ahead of the third Grand Slam tournament of the year.

ATP Eastbourne: Novak Djokovic accepts a wildcard at the Aegon International ahead of Wimbledon
Djokovic will be looking to get some competitive matches under his belt ahead of his quest for a fourth Wimbledon crown (Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty)

This time last year, Novak Djokovic was the reigning world number one, and the holder of all four Grand Slam titles. The first man to achieve that feat since Rod Laver in 1969, who won all four Slams in a Calendar year. A year later, Djokovic is no longer the world number one, he isn't even ranked in the top two. The Serb is currently ranked at four in the world as a failure to defend his French Open title, losing to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals, a player he thrashed in Rome, a couple of weeks before that.

Nevertheless, for only the third time in his career, the 12-time Grand Slam champion will play a tournament before a Grand Slam. The three-time Wimbledon champion has accepted a wildcard at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. Djokovic will be the top seed at the event held at Devonshire Park. Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi was a part of his coaching team at the French Open on a trial, and he should be in his box at Wimbledon which gets underway on July 3rd.

It is the first time since 2010 that Djokovic has opted to play at a grass court between the French Open and Wimbledon. Djokovic spoke about his first appearance in Eastbourne and he is looking forward to it. "This will be my first trip to Eastbourne, I have heard great things about the tournament. I am looking forward to fine tuning my grass court game there ahead of Wimbledon."

The former French Open champion was a shadow of his former self in his quarterfinal loss to Thiem at the French Open (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)
The former French Open champion was a shadow of his former self in his quarterfinal loss to Thiem at the French Open (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The Serb has had an indifferent 2017 campaign claiming only one title in 2017 in Doha when he defeated Andy Murray in one of the best ATP 250 final matches, this season. Djokovic relinquished his Australian Open title in the second round when he suffered a shocking loss to Denis Istomin. He also failed to defend points and his titles in Indian Wells and Miami, losing to Nick Kyrgios in the Californian Desert and opting to rest in Miami to heal a right elbow injury.

The world number four lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open, his first loss to his rival for the first time since the French Open final in 2014. Nonetheless, the Serb will be looking to make amends in this second half of the season, where he has a lot of points to make up after suffering early exits, getting started in Eastbourne. The conditions in Eastbourne will be windy, which historically, Djokovic is not a fan of.