Del Potro joins former champs Nadal, Murray, Dimitrov and Cilic in starry Fever-Tree Championships line-up

Juan Martin del Potro will feature at the newly-titled Fever-Tree Championship in June alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and more

Marianne Bevis
By Marianne Bevis
Juan Martin del Potro Photo: The Sport Review

The prestigious London Queen’s Club, which will host the newly-titled Fever-Tree Championships in June, is drawing up an appropriately prestigious list of competitors as the tennis elite gather ahead of the Wimbledon Championships.

World No6 Juan Martin del Potro is the latest Major champion to join a line-up that also includes world No1 Rafael Nadal, No4 Marin Cilic, and the returning Andy Murray, who has been absent from the tour since Wimbledon last year following hip surgery.

Add No5 Grigor Dimitrov, and that makes four of the top six who will take to what are often cited as the best grass courts in the world.

Many of these stars are also former champions at Queen’s: Nadal won in 2008, Murray won the first of five titles in 2009, Cilic captured the title in 2012, and Dimitrov in 2014. Defending champion Feliciano Lopez will also be in contention.

The current British No1, 23-year-old Kyle Edmund, who is also ranked 23, will return for his fourth appearance at Queen’s, but there will be particularly close attention paid to Murray, who is currently ranked at 34 after his long absence.

The Briton was ranked No1 when he played his last match, the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last July, and he is not expected to play competitively until the grass season, beginning at the ATP250 in s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

The Fever-Tree Championships will also showcase two of the most charismatic young players on the tennis scene, Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov.

Kyrgios, who opened 2018 with the title in Brisbane, has yet to win a match in three visits to Queen’s, and was forced to retire in his opener last year. He said:

“I really want to do well at the Fever-Tree Championships. Grass is a surface I know I can play well on and it frustrates me that I haven’t been able to play my best so far at The Queen’s Club. I was injured last year and I’ve had some rough draws, but I’m confident I can put it together. If I do, I can win it. It’s a great tournament with a lot of history, and I’m pumped to be going back.”

The exciting 19-year-old Canadian Shapovalov is similarly excited at the prospect. He came through qualifying last year, beat Edmund in the first round and then pushed Tomas Berdych to the limit in the second round.

He recalled:

“Those two matches against Edmund and Berdych were a real career-starter for me. I was still coming from juniors, it was my first full year on the pro tour, and I have great memories. I like a lot of things about the Fever-Tree Championships.

“Obviously, the grass is ideal over there… I think it’s a really good surface for me. I can be really offensive and play my best tennis on it, so I think it really suits me.”

Of Del Potro, who won 15 matches in a row on his way to successive titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells this spring, Tournament Director Stephen Farrow, said:

“The return of Juan Martin to the world’s top 10 is one of the best stories in tennis. Everybody loves him—from his powerful, devastating game to the sporting way he carries himself and interacts with the crowd.

“He is the fourth top 10-ranked player we have signed up so far, alongside Nadal, Cilic and Dimitrov. That’s before we start talking about Andy Murray, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov and defending champion Feliciano Lopez, so we couldn’t be happier with how our player-field is shaping up.”

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