With the cinch Championship kicking off today at The Queen’s Club, the grass court season is set to gain even more momentum. This esteemed tournament, held at the exclusive club in west London, has a notable tradition of players lifting the trophy and then proceeding to do the same at the All England Club just a few weeks after.
Regrettably, defending champion Matteo Berrettini had to withdraw on Sunday due to injury, just before the draw. Nonetheless, an exceptional roster of players is poised to captivate the audience at Queen’s, with tickets completely sold out.
WHO IS THE TOP SEED?
US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz is leading a top-class field at The Queen’s Club; relishing the chance to test himself on grass.
“I was not able to practice too much at home as we have no grass courts,” said the Spaniard. “It has been difficult to adapt to the movement, but I am really happy with the practice I had here.
“After the French Open, I had four days off to rest and turn off my mind a little bit. Then I practiced for three days, it was on hard court. I tried to do the same movement as grass courts.
“The most difficult part of playing on grass is being able to move well. You have to be more careful than on the other surfaces; but the most comfortable thing for me is being able to go to the net and play more aggressive all the time.
“That side is similar to the other surfaces so playing that style is comfortable and natural for me – I really like it.
“There are a lot of players who slide on grass and I’m not one of them, so I have to think a lot more about my movement and be really focused on every move and every shot I make.
“It can be more tiring because you’re constantly moving – it’s totally different to the other surfaces and I have to put in a specific type of work to get ready for it.”
LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT GEN
With a huge serve and a dynamic all-court game, 20-year-old Holger Rune looks set to perform well on grass, recently proving his status as one of the rising stars of the game by winning last year’s Paris Masters.
He backed that up by breaking into the top 10 of the ATP rankings and he was a runner-up in last month’s ATP 1000 event in Rome.
Rune is No.2 seed at Queen’s and will be a real contender if he can find his feet on grass.
American Ben Shelton is another young gun to watch at Queen’s, after his breakthrough run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.
At the age of 20, Shelton has broken the top 50 in the ATP rankings and will be a threat if he aims to prove his worth on grass for the first time.
THE BRITS ARE COMING
British stars Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are on the roster at The Queen’s Club, yet all eyes will be on Andy Murray.
Five-time Queen’s Club champion Murray has won this event more than anyone in history and the Scot is showing some great grass court form after winning ATP Challengers in Surbiton and Nottingham over the last couple of weeks.
Murray faces No.7 seed Alex De Minaur in the opening round at Queen’s and looks ready to challenge at the tournament once again.
“It’s has been a great couple of weeks,” says Murray. “I have got a lot of matches in on grass and my body is feeling good, so I’m looking forward to Queen’s now.”
“It will be a tough first match (against De Minaur). He likes the grass, and he is someone I’ve had some tough battles with in the past. Hopefully I get some rest in tomorrow and can get ready for Tuesday.”
QUEEN’S DID YOU KNOW
- Queen’s is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world and was founded in 1890.
- There have been 33 American winners of The Queen’s Club tournament, more than any other nation.
- The youngest winner was Boris Becker in 1985 (17 years, 207 days).
- The winner of this year’s cinch Championships will receive €477,795.