Aegon Classic 2015: Wild card Katie Swan ready to join the top flight

Swan, aged 16, is one of the brightest prospects in British women's tennis

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The Independent Online

There is a huge gap between the two players in terms of experience, but Britain's Katie Swan will go into her first-round match against Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in this week's Aegon Classic at Edgbaston determined to make the most of the opportunity.

Swan, aged 16, is one of the brightest prospects in British women’s tennis – as she showed with her run to the Australian Open junior final at the start of this year. This will be her first taste of the main women’s tour and only her fifth senior tournament. She won her first  senior title earlier this year in an International Tennis Federation tournament in Egypt.

Pironkova, who is 12 years older than Swan, is a former Wimbledon semi-finalist. The world No 47 won her only main tour title in Sydney last year and has  represented Bulgaria in the last two Olympic Games.

“I am very excited as this is a great opportunity for me and I am really grateful that I was given the wild card, so I am going to make the most of it,” Swan said yesterday.

“I will be a little bit nervous and I hope I can put in a good performance. I want to enjoy everything about it and see where my level is at against the top girls, so it will be a really great experience.

“I have been working really hard in practice and I feel like my game is improving so that I am able to play better in the tournaments that I enter. I feel like I am getting a lot of good experience.”

Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic, who are ranked No 3 and No 6 in the world respectively, are the top seeds in a strong field.

The British No 1, Heather Watson, who did not play last week because of an elbow injury, will be hoping to get some grass-court matches under her belt, while Johanna Konta, the British No 2, will be aiming to build on her run to the quarter-finals of the Aegon Open in Nottingham, where she lost to Romania’s Monica Niculescu.

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