Now that another French Open has safely returned to its rightful place in Mallorca, the ATP tour has switched into grass-court mode. As we build up to Wimbledon, two of the biggest men’s events on the surface take place this week: Halle in Germany and Queen’s in London.
Andy Murray is the record five-time champion at the Queen’s Club and it’s great to see the Scot back in action after hip surgery, albeit in doubles.
The 2019 championships should be a very open affair given the absence of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray (from singles). Greek prodigy Stefanos Tsitsipas is top seed with Kevin Anderson at No 2, Juan Martin del Potro third, and Daniil Medvedev at No 4.
Defending champion Marin Cilic is seeded fifth after a disappointing season to date.
Here’s four to consider before the action starts on Monday.
A new partnership blossoms…
— Fever-Tree Championships (@QueensTennis) June 14, 2019
The Greek phenom has had a couple of weeks to rest since that magnificent five-hour match with Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros. While his body may have recovered, you can bet it still bothers him upstairs.
The 20-year-old comes to London bursting with confidence after an outstanding 2019 campaign. Tsitsipas can already boast two titles this season (Marseille, Estoril) and two runner-up showings (Dubai, Madrid). The versatile star also has form on this surface, having made the fourth round of Wimbledon last year.
Tsitsipas has been given a tricky opener against Kyle Edmund but the Brit has had a difficult year and has sunk to No. 29 in the ATP Rankings. If Tsitsipas wins that, he’s projected to meet Jeremy Chardy or Mikail Kukushkin in the second round and Felix-Auger Aliassime in the third. The imposing figure of Juan Martin del Potro could await in the quarters.
I was initially going to put Milos Raonic here but the Canadian withdrew from Stuttgart on Saturday with injury and must be a doubt for London. The Argentine is in the same quarter as Raonic at Queen’s and will be clear favourite to make it through to the last eight.
That said, Delpo has a difficult opener against Canadian lefty Denis Shapovalov in one of the ties of the round. If the Tower of Tandil gets through that, he will not fear the likes of Marton Fuscovics, Alex de Minaur or Marco Cecchinato.
It will take a bit of giant-killing for the Englishman to disrupt the Queen’s draw, but there’s no better man for the job. The 29-year-old just won the Surbiton Challenger on grass and will fancy a crack at Stan Wawrinka in the first round. The Swiss isn’t a natural on the turf with his long swings and preference to stay behind the baseline.
Now up to 70 in the rankings, Evans is on the rise again and enters the stage of the season most suited to his box of tricks. If the Brummie can halt Stan The Man, anything is possible in an open quarter with recently injured Kevin Anderson, France Tiafoe, Gilles Simon and Cameron Norrie.
It wasn’t easy picking another outsider with a reasonable shout but I’m going to go with the Frenchman here. The 25-year-old had a significant grand slam breakthrough earlier this season when he made the semis Down Under. However, wins have dried up since then and first round losses have become far too common.
However, there have been signs of a resurgence lately with a victory at Challenger level in April, and a quarter-final run in Stuttgart. Pouille won Stuttgart in 2017 so he knows what to do on grass. He starts against Jay Clarke at Queen’s and could cause trouble in quarter headed by seeds Marin Cilic and Daniil Medvedev.
*Prices correct at time of publishing