While the Final of the French Open is still to be played tomorrow, the transition to the grass happens quickly. There are two grass court tournaments next week, and the fields are very strong. The Aegon Championships in London are back at the Queen’s Club, where the tournament has been held since 1979. 25 of the last 27 Wimbledon champions have won the title at Queens, including Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl to name a few. The Gerry Weber open is back in Halle, Germany for the 21st time, and the field may be even stronger than Queens. Defending champion Tommy Haas is back, as is Roger Federer, and the two close friends are even playing doubles together! I’ll give you guys a quick preview of each tournament.
Queen’s is a 250 event, but instead of the normal 32 player singles draw, they have a 64 player field, with 16 seeds. The top 8 get first round byes, and those players are: 1)Andy Murray 2)Tomas Berdych 3) Juan Martin Del Potro 4)Jo Wilfried Tsonga 5)Marin Cilic 6)Sam Querrey 7)Aleksander Dolgopolov 8)Kevin Anderson. For the rest of the draw, go here: http://www.lta.org.uk/3G/Tournaments/AEGONChampionships/Draws/2013/MDS.pdf
This is always a special event on the circuit, and it should be no different this year. With 50 top 100 players, the matches will be high quality as always. The transition to grass is always interesting, because it is by far the most different of the three surfaces. Along with that, the grass court season only last about a month, so most players have the least experience on the green stuff. Some players who are having tough years can turn their season around on the grass, because of their style of play. (See Nicolas Mahut beating Andy Murray last year at Queens
Storylines to Watch:
- How will Andy Murray’s form be after pulling out of Roland Garros?
- Can Grigor Dimitrov improve on his Semifinal performance from last year?
- How will Tomas Berdych respond after losing in the 1st round in Paris?
- Can Jo Willy Tsonga recover in time to have more success at Queens?
My Pick: I think Murray will be pretty focused and win at Queens once again. He’s learned to play really well on grass, and his backhand slice gives a lot of players trouble.
Dark-horse: Lukas Rosol. He’s playing well this year, and he’s returning to the surface where he can do the most damage.
Gerry Weber Open
Halle has the traditional 32 player singles draw, and its field is also chalked full of top 50 players. Full draw here: http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2013/500/mds.pdf
The Seeds: 1)Roger Federer 2)Richard Gasquet 3)Tommy Haas 4)Kei Nishikori 5)Milos Raonic 6)Phillip Kohlshreiber 7)Jerzy Janowicz 8)Florian Mayer
There are some very interesting first round matches, including Ernests Gulbis vs Marcos Baghdatis, and Gael Monfils vs Daniel Brands (This will be the 4th time they’ve played this year, Brands 3-0). Roger Federer could face Jerzy Janowicz in the quarters and Milos Raonic in the semis, two huge servers who have had some succes on grass. Perhaps more interesting is that Federer and Tommy Haas are competing in doubles together. It will be the first time Federer has played doubles since the Olympics last year.
Storylines to Watch:
- How will Federer fare in a tough draw?
- Can Tommy Haas defend his title?
- Can Raonic or Janowicz make a run?
- How will Federer and Haas do in doubles?
My pick: I think Federer wants this one. He hasn’t won a title this year, and grass is his best surface. His grass court game adjusts more quickly than everybody else, and that will pull him through.
Dark-horse: Ernests Gulbis