London, June 10: Venus Williams will make a rare appearance at a Wimbledon warm-up after accepting a wildcard to the star-studded Nature Valley Classic.
The five-time All England Club champion has never played in Birmingham before, with her only previous grass-court entries ahead of the grand slam coming in Eastbourne in 1997, 1998 and 2011.
But after losing in the first round of the French Open to Elina Svitolina, Williams will continue her bid for a 50th WTA Tour singles title at the Premier event.
She joins world number one Naomi Osaka, defending champion Petra Kvitova, French Open winner Ashleigh Barty and Roland Garros semi-finalist Johanna Konta in the draw.
Garbine Muguruza, Wimbledon champion two years ago, has withdrawn due to a left leg injury.
"I'm really excited to be playing in Birmingham for the first time," Williams said.
"I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament."