The nine-times Wimbledon champion is seeded to play Jana Novotna, her conqueror in last year's semi-finals at the All England Club, in the final. Given a bye in the first round, Navratilova's opening match at Eastbourne could be against Irina Spirlea, whom she defeated in the semi-finals of the Italian Open. The 20-year-old Romanian went on to beat Mary Joe Fernandez in the French Open.
Novotna, who also has a bye, may face a second-round match against the American, Linda Harvey-Wild, who eliminated Navratilova in the defending champion's opening match two years ago.
In the men's tournament at Manchester, Britain's Chris Bailey has drawn a first-round match against the second seed, Patrick Rafter, from Australia. The winner will meet Jermey Bates, the British No 1, or Italy's Omar Camporese.
Mark Petchey, from Essex, faces a difficult task against the South African, Christo van Rensburg, while Oxford's Tim Henman plays a qualifier, with either Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi or Maurice Ruah, from Venezuela, waiting in the second round.
Richard Krajicek yesterday became the first Dutchman to win a title on home soil in almost 20 years when he beat Karsten Braasch in the final of the Continental grass court tournament in Rosmalen.Reuse content