Benni Becker to defend Aegon Trophy title in Nottingham

Benjamin Becker

World number 94 Benjamin Becker will return to Nottingham in June to defend his Aegon Trophy title.

German Becker, 31, is one of three previous winners along with Gilles Muller and Ricardas Berankis to enter.

Last year's beaten finalist and former world number 20 Dmitry Tursunov is top seed for the event - one of 12 top 100 players in the competition.

The tournament begins on Saturday, 1 June and ends on Saturday 9 June with the men's final.

Tursunov has recently impressed on clay, reaching the final 16 in both the Munich and Barcelona events this year, overcoming world number four David Ferrer in the second round of the latter.

The 30-year-old returns to the Midlands just two months after his Russian Davis Cup team went down to Great Britain in their Euro/Africa Group One tie in Coventry.

Tournament director Paul Hutchins said the first of back-to-back events at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, which finishes with the Aegon Challenge on June 16, will be crucial in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

"I'm expecting a lot of these players to take advantage of the chance to hone their game in Nottingham at the first grass court event leading up to Wimbledon, where all the players know the grass courts at the Tennis Centre are some of the best in the country," Hutchins said.

"The first entry list for the Aegon Trophy is excellent and one of the strongest we have seen in recent years, with so many of the top 100 players eager to hit the grass in Nottingham before Wimbledon."