Tennis tourist Coco Vandeweghe out to play a blinder at Nature Valley Classic Birmingham

American tennis star Coco Vandeweghe will this week swap her visor for a flat cap as she delves into the world of the Peaky Blinders.

Coco Vandeweghe
Coco Vandeweghe

The world no.16 has made her living with a very different kind of racket to that typically associated with Birmingham’s infamous Shelby family.

Yet Vandeweghe is a huge fan of the cult TV series and – when not doing battle on court in the Birmingham Classic – intends to learn about the city’s murky past on the official Peaky Tours which take place on the streets once walked by Tommy and the rest of the gang.

Pat Cash, her coach and 1987 Wimbledon champion, is also going along for the ride.

Vandeweghe, who opens her campaign against Petra Martic in round one, told the Express & Star: “I love Peaky Blinders and the tour has been pencilled in for several months. When I am not being a tennis player, I love being a tourist. I’m lucky in that my job takes me around the world and I get to experience different things. It can be hectic but I’ve got better at making time to get out and see these places.”

Big-serving Vandeweghe is no stranger to Birmingham culture, having instigated a trip to Cadbury World during last year’s tournament at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

On court, she will again be among the favourites in a tournament which has steadily grown in stature over recent seasons.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is the star attraction, while British No.1 Johanna Konta will also be among the contenders – though faces a tough opening-round clash with Petra Kvitova.

Vandeweghe, who ended Konta’s interest in the event 12 months ago, will hope for better this time around after injury forced her to withdraw while leading a quarter-final against Muguruza.

“That was hugely disappointing and it meant I went into Wimbledon having played only a couple of games,” explained the 26-year-old.

“I’m hoping for better this time around. It’s a tournament I enjoy and I am feeling confident.”

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