It has been a long wait of two years but the return of the most prestigious grass court event in mens tennis in preparation for Wimbledon. It will welcome back the man who has won the most singles titles in the history of the event, Andy Murray where better to start?
Andy Murray vs Benoit Paire
It is set to be a big welcome back for Murray who has struggled with niggling injuries and hasn’t played since a straight sets defeat to Rublev in Rotterdam about 14 weeks ago.
It will be a test to see how ready the Brit is ahead of Wimbledon, he is only playing singles at Queens but I wouldn’t be surprised if we maybe see a Doubles and/or mixed doubles at SW20.
I think if you had to pick a player right now to play it would probably be Benoit Paire with the greatest of respect. It is well known that the Frenchman has struggled with adapting to life on the tour and motivation during the pandemic and has shown in performances and subsequent results winning just three of his last twenty three matches.
Benoit will be bring flair and will be a test for Murray and hopefully we then see him into round two which could be against the top seed Matteo Berrettini.
I am pleased to see the Italian having a good year, injury ended his good form in Australia but he has come back strong. He is a player who I think still has a lot to give but also improve.
During his Roland Garros match with Djokovic there were a lot of harsh things written about him but lets not forget his journey to the top of the mens ranking. Matteo’s route to top 10 has been different to the ‘norm’. He has only played exactly 150 matches on tour & been ranked in the top 15 for almost 2 years. He didn’t debut on tour until he was 21!
I do think he will come to Queens Club and Wimbledon wanting to prove a bigger point, he hasn’t played on grass since he lost 1-6 2-6 2-6 to Federer in the fourth round and I really hope he does and silences some of these unfair critics he gets.
Brits in London
It is always good to see the British players in action, we know that Andy Murray will be up against Benoit Paire but who else will be playing?
Dan Evans vs Alexei Popyrin – Dan is the only seeded player from Great Britain in the draw, it is quite a stacked draw and Alexei will be a tough opponent. The Aussie is having one of his best and most consistent years on the tour and could cause some issues.
Jack Draper vs Jannik Sinner – The British teenager has had a difficult couple of months, he has struggled with fitness and cramp in Miami and has only played a couple of events since one of which he pulled out with injury. It will be soo tough against Sinner who is the real but lets not forget despite what has happened over the last 12-18 months a lot of tennis has been missed and played and I’m fascinated to see how players adapt to grass courts after soo long off them.
Liam Broady vs Adrian Mannarino – A tough opener for Liam, Adrian plays a solid lefty game with a flat and pacey ball. I haven’t seen too much of the Frenchman for a while, the last time was against Alcaraz in Madrid and it was messy. Liam has been playing well lately and I could see him winning this, the winner will play either Evans or Popyrin.
Cam Norrie vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas – Albert is a tricky player but one that has not taken to the grass courts, he turned Pro in 2007 and has won 6 of his 18 matches on the surface. Cam is the in-form Brit this year, he has had a wonderful clay court season reaching two finals and playing a good match with Nadal in Paris and I hope we see that come to the grass courts now.
Ones to watch?
I’m interested to see what Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov bring to the court this week and over the next couple of weeks. I would say they have a point to prove.
13 wins and 12 defeats for Alex this year and Denis is on 15 wins and 12 defeats. I like both players they bring something different to the court but their game lacks consistency!
Aslan Karatsev and Jannik Sinner will be my outsiders to keep an eye on, I do think the Italian should be considered a contender, his movement is up there with Djokovic.
One man I would not rule out is Marin Cilic, he always digs deep. He is a former champion here and finalist as well as a runner-up at Wimbledon. He has been in good form in Stuttgart and in three of his opening four matches in Germany didn’t drop a point on his first serve which is a tour record since stats began!