Queen’s 2019: Tsitsipas, Anderson, Del Potro, Wawrinka among seven top-20 men
Defending champion Marin Cilic plus former winners Lopez and Dimitrov also in main draw
The Fever-Tree Championships, one of the pair of prestigious ATP500 events that pave the way to Wimbledon, gets underway this weekend at the iconic and historic Queen’s Club in the heart of Kensington.
Voted the 500 Tournament of the Year in 2018, the Club claims perhaps the best grass courts in the country, providing the perfect based for those SW19 ambitions.
Here is it that Andy Murray has won more singles titles, five of them, than any of his illustrious predecessors—the likes of John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick and Jimmy Connors. Indeed, the mighty Rod Laver won the title here in 1970, the year after completing his second calendar Grand Slam 50 years ago.
And this year’s tournament will see the return of its favourite son, Murray, back in competition—albeit in doubles with Feliciano Lopez—for the first time since his tear-stained exit from the Australian Open in the first round. In January, after managing just a dozen matches last year following his first bout of hip surgery, Murray faced either more major surgery or retirement. He chose the former, and his recovery has been good enough to attempt this comeback in doubles next week.
Also back from injury is last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, who has managed just 10 matches this season. He will be seeded second to the one of the brightest stars to emerge in the last 12 or so months, No6 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
And last year’s US Open finalist, Juan Martin del Potro, has also added his name to the entry list. The popular Argentine, currently ranked 12, is another on the comeback from injury. An accident at last year’s Shanghai Masters damaged his knee, and Queen’s will be just his fifth tournament since.
They are joined by defending champion Marin Cilic and many of the most exciting young players in the world, including, for the first time, the exciting 20-year-old star, Tsitsipas.
The young Greek, who has won two titles this year, reached the final of the Madrid Masters, and made the semis of the Australian Open, will be joined by fellow 20-year-old Alex De Minaur, and another of the charismatic young players who have been making waves this season. Age just 18, Felix Auger-Aliassime is ranked 21 after making two finals this year, and reaching the semis of the Miami Masters via qualifying.
More young talent entering the fray is No13 Daniil Medvedev, No25 Denis Shapovalov, and No35 Frances Tiafoe, plus Australian Open semi-finalist Lucas Pouille, three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka, former Queen’s champion Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios.
There will be two British direct entrants other than Andy Murray for the first time since 2006 in the shape of Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie, plus wild-cards entrants Dan Evans and Jay Clarke.
In doubles, Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara, and Kyle Edmund and Ken Skupski have been awarded wild cards into the doubles draw, which will also feature Andy Murray with Lopez, plus Jamie Murray with his new partner, Neal Skupski.
The doubles competition, however, is formidable: Also here will be the Bryan brothers, Juan Sebastian Cabal with Robert Farah, and Bruno Soares with new partner Mate Pavic
The Fever-Tree Wheelchair Tennis Championships—the first ever grass-court wheelchair ranking tournament to take place outside of Wimbledon—will also be staged, as will the inaugural Paul Hutchins Trophy, an 18-and-under match between Great Britain and the United States.
The facts and figures
Former champions in singles draw: Cilic (defending), Lopez, Dimitrov
Other key players: Tsitsipas, Anderson, del Potro, Medvedev, Cilic, Milos Raonic, Wawrinka, Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Shapovalov, de Minaur, Kyrgios
Britons in singles draw: Edmund, Norrie, Evans, Clarke
[Plus Britons in qualifying draw: James Ward and Jack Draper]
Most singles title: Andy Murray, 5
Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 15 June, midday
Qualifying: Saturday and Sunday at 11am
Main draw begins: Monday 17 June at 12 noon
Finals: Sunday, 23 June, 1.30pm