April 27, 2017

Nick Kyrgios Joins Aegon Championships Field

(March 24, 2017) Nick Kyrgios, has added his name to the Aegon Championships line-up, which takes place at The Queen’s Club, 19th-25th June.

Kyrgios joins World No.1 Andy Murray, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, last year’s Queen’s and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic and the 2014 Aegon Championships winner, Grigor Dimitrov, in the singles field. Jamie Murray has already confirmed he will be part of the doubles draw.

“I’m real excited and pumped to be coming back to Queen’s,” said Kyrgios. “It’s a great tournament, with Wimbledon soon after, and I love playing on grass. It’s my favourite surface, it suits my game a lot and I’m expecting big things on grass this year.”

Kyrgios, 22, has twice beaten former World No.1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets over the past month, with illness forcing him out of the quarterfinals in Indian Wells last week. He beat Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 on his way to the quarterfinals in his debut year at the tournament, but he expects that to be just the beginning of his achievements on grass.

“I don’t think British people have seen the best of me yet. I was very young when I had that run at Wimbledon. Mentally I have improved a lot recently, I’m in a great place at the moment, I feel like I’ve matured and that’s helping me. I’m playing better tennis, I’m getting some better results.”

Stephen Farrow, Aegon Championships Tournament Director, said: “Nick is the most exciting young player in tennis at the moment, with several wins already over some of the all-time greats. We can’t wait to see him in action at The Queen’s Club.”

With Centre Court capacity increasing by 30% in 2017, more than 15,000 additional people will be able to watch the action at the Aegon Championships – the ATP World Tour 500 Tournament of the Year. The tournament has already sold more than 8,000 additional tickets than ever before.

Earlier this year, Andy Murray made a career-commitment to play in the Aegon Championships, and the BBC announced that they will cover the tournament until at least 2024.

Last year, the Aegon Championships was voted ATP-500 Tournament of the Year by the players – the fourth successive year that the event has received a tournament of the year award.

Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand & Sponsorship, Aegon UK said: “Nick Kyrgios is in such good form at the moment and we are all looking forward to seeing him in action. We are in for a wonderful week of tennis at the Aegon Championships.”


The Man with the Silver Bowl – Behind the Scenes at The Queen’s Club Draw

By Wendy M. Grossman

1-Queens Club draw Ceremony Wendy Grossman Tennis Panorama News

(June 11, 2016) LONDON, England – “Don’t look,” cautioned the man bearing the silver bowl.

Tennis conspiracy theorists always think tournament draws are fixed. Sometimes – for example, the 1996 US Open, when the players threatened to boycott unless the draw was remade – there are good reasons. In that case, the seedings had been announced after the draw had already been announced, and because they didn’t strictly follow the rankings, there were legitimate questions asked about whether the tournament was favoring American stars. A 2011 study of ten years of men’s and women’s singles Grand Slam draws found that the other Slams did indeed seem to produce random draws, but that that the US Open draws showed anomalies.

More common claims are that the draw is fixed to ease one or another player’s path or that the placing of seeds 3 and 4 is fixed in order to keep a particular pairing apart until the final. Every time a new draw for one of the majors is announced, you’ll find someone in a tennis discussion forum complaining that Roger Federer always gets an easy draw and Rafael Nadal a hard one, or  Novak Djokovic a tough road and Nadal an easy one…or some variation of that with whatever players the poster cares about.

Others would just like to tinker with the rules governing how draws are made. Over the years people have suggested that the semifinal pairings should always be 1-4 and 2-3, or that the entire draw should be remade before the quarter-finals to rebalance the gaps left by defeated seeds. Another favorite suggestion is that the majors should go back to seeding 16 players instead of 32, the rule until 2001. Doing so, the argument goes, would make the early rounds a little more tantalizing. I incline toward this latter idea myself, but it’s unlikely to happen because seeding 32 players was a concession Wimbledon made as part of a settlement of player complaints. The Spanish players were offended by the All-England’s habit of revising the seeding list to take into account past results on grass, which sometimes dropped the Spaniards out of the seeding list. This, they felt, was unfair: sure they often lost in the early rounds, but, they reasoned, they got no reverse consideration at the French Open, where they could be expected to do well but Pete Sampras was still top seed despite his habit of losing in the first two rounds.

2-Queens Club draw Wendy Grossman - portraits

Back to the man with the silver bowl. We are in the Presidents’ Room at Queen’s Club, surrounded by oil portraits, one of which is a dead ringer for Kaiser Wilhelm (it’s actually the Rt Hon Lord of Dalkeith, the club president from 1874 to 1879). The room is full of journalists and various people involved with running either the club or the tournament. (You can easily tell them apart. The people involved with the club are dressed for a cocktail party; tournament staff are wearing sponsored sports stuff; and the journalists look like they’ve been dragged in off the street.) At the front, next to a populated head table is a large screen with a blank 32-slot draw, and a load of numbered plastic tokens. We are introduced to three people who together have bid £250,000 (to be given to a children’s charity) for the right to be here today. Also on hand: Marin Cilic, the 2012 champion of this event. All of this, including the presence of a player, is fairly standard, though the exact mechanics vary.

The ritual begins with slotting the name of the top seed – Andy Murray – on line number 1 and second seed Stan Wawrinka on line 32. Next, the tokens for 3 and 4 are placed in the bowl and Queen’s man in the grey suit asks one of the dignitaries to pick one. This is where “Don’t look!” comes in. The one that is drawn – fourth seed Richard Gasquet – is placed on line 9, and the other, McEnroe-enhanced third seed Milos Raonic, on line 24. That settles the projected semifinal pairings. Next, the tokens for seeds 5 to 8 are placed in the bowl, and the man bowl is offered to three different people to fill the quarterfinal spots. Finally, the rest of the tokens are placed in the bowl, and the man goes around offering it to various people in the audience, even soliciting volunteers. Each person draws out one of the remaining numbers and the team at the front places it in the next empty line of the draw. There are tokens for qualifiers, whose names won’t be known until tomorrow (assuming the rain delay ends in time). These will also be drawn randomly to fill the empty spaces left for them.

As they go, the on-screen board fills in and profiles of the players and their match pairings pop up alongside. Some of the matches sound much tastier than the first round at Wimbledon will be. Cilic, interviewed, noted that the cut-off for the main draw this week was 44, which he thinks is the highest for any tournament on the tour. Murray, seeking his record-breaking fifth title here this year, draws Nicolas Mahut in the first round. Definitely a tough one: Mahut has grass cred. Besides being, famously, the loser in 2010’s three-day first-round Wimbledon encounter with John Isner, he’s a former finalist here who might have won the title but for an unlucky netcord, and recently the world’s number one doubles player. Other first-round contests that catch the eye: Nick Kyrgios versus Raonic sounds like an old-style serving contest; John Isner will have to contend with just-back Juan Martin del Potro; and Cilic faces Feliciano Lopez, the good-on-grass Spaniard who has troubled plenty of players here over the years.

Most draws, while not attended with quite as much ceremony, are pretty much like this: public events, with at least one player, some press, and various others in attendance. While it might be possible to fix the draw somewhere sometime, the intent is to make the process transparent and trustworthy. Conspiracy theorists should look elsewhere.


Queen’s Club Draws

Related articles:

A Look at the History of Queen’s Club with CEO Andrew Stewart

Keeping the Queen’s Club Grass Courts Perfect; Meet Graham Kimpton

Approach Shots: Getting to Know Tennis Umpire Ali Nili


Edmund Beats Murray To Win Tie Break Tens In London

(December 5, 2015) Kyle Edmund won the inaugural Tie Break Tens at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening and took away more money than he had earned all year.

The 20-year-old Briton produced a sensational barrage of power-hitting to beat his compatriot Andy Murray 10-7 in a high-quality final.

Victory for Edmund meant he took home the $250,000 prize. His year-to-date prize money had been $205,654, and his career prize-money $410,583.

‘It was an honour for me to be here, I really enjoyed it’, said Edmund, afterwards. ‘The fact that I was successful made it even better. I’m very pleased. It’s important to use the money smartly. The best thing is to invest it in my career. If I invest in support and trainers, it’s going to help me on court.’

John McEnroe, who had been part of the field, was impressed with what he saw from the 20-year-old.
‘I liked what I saw, he’s made some great progress,” said McEnroe. “He’s a better athlete than I thought, his backhand was more solid. He’s got a huge forehand, he pops that serve and he rose to the occasion. He’s got huge upside.’
The anticipation ahead of Tie Break Tens had been building at Champions Tennis all week.

The six-man field comprising Edmund, Murray, McEnroe, David Ferrer, Tim Henman and qualifier Xavier Malisse (who earlier beat Younes El Aynaoui to earn his place), had been split into two-round robin groups and competed in a series of fast-paced, first-to-ten point tie-breaks.

In Group 1, McEnroe, 56, thrilled an excited crowd inside the Royal Albert Hall by rolling back the years and volleying exquisitely. He stayed neck and neck with Henman before eventually being edged out, and then led Malisse 7-1 with some of his best tennis in years. Suddenly, the McEnroe juggernaut came juddering to a stop as he lost nine points in a row.

They were joined in the final four by Murray and Edmund. The British pair both overcame World No.7 Ferrer to progress from Group 2.

The semi-finals turned out to be one-sided affairs; Murray clinically beat Henman 10-1 before Edmund saw off the spirited challenge of Malisse.

In the final, Edmund defied the odds and managed to avenge his Group stage loss to Murray. Edmund used his sledgehammer forehand to devastating effect and not even Murray’s renowned defensive skills could prevent Edmund from dominating the baseline exchanges and coming through 10-7.

What Did The Players Think Of Tie Break Tens?

Edmund: ‘I thought it was very exciting. I didn’t know what to expect but I think the crowd enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed it. With tennis it’s always so serious so it was nice to actually have some fun out there and see that emotion of players you don’t normally see. It’s like the 20-20 version of cricket, it’s quick, it’s sharp, it gets the crowd involved.’
Murray: ‘I thought it was good, it was quick. It was nice to be on the court with Tim and John. John is a legend of the game and the format was good.’

McEnroe: ‘I liked it, I felt good. I played well but sort of choked a little bit at the end. Tim actually played some good ball to win a couple of big points. I got cocky I think when I was up 7-1 against Xavier, I thought it was over and started thinking about the semis – that’s a mistake that no athlete should make.’

What is the future for Tie Break Tens?

Matthew Pryke, Tournament Director: ‘We are delighted with how our inaugural Tie Break Tens went as part of Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall. Everyone seemed to have a great time, whether playing, spectating, or watching on Sky Sports, and that’s the whole point. Kyle was a very worthy winner, but all of the players competed hard and made the evening a huge success. We believe Tie Break Tens can complement the current Tour and add value for the tennis fan with its quick-fire, tie-break format, and we intend to stage further events around the world in 2016 and beyond.”
For full results and more information: www.tiebreaktens.com
Champions Tennis runs from 2nd to 6th December at the Royal Albert Hall.

During the week of Champions Tennis, Henman, debutant James Blake, defending champion Fernando Gonzalez, Xavier Malisse, Younes El Aynoui and Sebastien Grosjean have contested an ATP Champions Tour event. John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Henri Leconte are playing legends singles matches against each other, and also joining the field to play amongst the doubles action are Mansour Bahrami, Pat Cash and Jamie Murray.

On Sunday, Henman will face Gonzalez in the ATP Champions Tour final, with a singles exhibition between McEnroe and Leconte. In doubles, Bahrami, Blake, Cash and Wilander.
Written by David Law

2015 Wimbledon Ladies’ Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(June 28, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2015 Wimbledon. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff


Serena Williams

2015 Record: 32-1

Grand Slam Record: 273-39

Wimbledon Record: 72-10

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2002, ’03, ’09, ’10, ‘12)

Fast Fact: This is the best year-to-date record entering Wimbledon (32-1, 97%) of Serena’s career.


Petra Kvitova

2015 Record: 24-7

Grand Slam Record: 70-26

Wimbledon Record: 27-5

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: In the last five years, Kvitova has won 26 of her 29 matches at Wimbledon, with her loses coming to Serena Williams (2010, ‘12) and Flipkens (2013).


Simona Halep

2015 Record: 32-8

Grand Slam Record: 32-20

Wimbledon Record: 7-4

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Halep has recorded only two wins vs. Top Ten players in 2015, both coming in three set matches in Dubai (def. Makarova, Wozniacki).


Maria Sharapova

2015 Record: 29-6

Grand Slam Record: 174-42

Wimbledon Record: 41-11

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2004)

Fast Fact: Sharapova’s Grand Slam match winning percentage (80.6%) is second best among active players, trailing Serena Williams (87.5%).


Caroline Wozniacki

2015 Record: 27-12

Grand Slam Record: 81-33

Wimbledon Record: 16-8

Wimbledon Best Result: 4R (2009, ’10, ’11, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has reached the quarterfinals only once in her last 13 appearances in Grand Slam events (RU, 2014 US Open).


Lucie Safarova

2015 Record: 22-12

Grand Slam Record: 48-40

Wimbledon Record: 9-9

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Since 2014, Safarova has a record of 19-6 (76%) in Grand Slam events; prior to 2014, her Grand Slam record was 29-34 (46%).


Ana Ivanovic

2015 Record: 16-11

Grand Slam Record: 103-41

Wimbledon Record: 23-10

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2007)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Ivanovic had a 37-9 record entering Wimbledon, winning more than twice as many matches as she has in 2015.


Ekaterina Makarova

2015 Record: 18-11

Grand Slam Record: 56-31

Wimbledon Record: 9-7

Wimbledon Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Since 2013, Makarova is 24-2 in Grand Slam events when playing a lower ranked opponent, with her losses coming against Kuznetsova and Safarova.


Carla Suarez Navarro

2015 Record: 35-13

Grand Slam Record: 47-26

Wimbledon Record: 7-5

Wimbledon Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Suarez Navarro has a losing record vs. Top 50 players in Grand Slam events (13-20), including a 2-4 record since 2014.


Angelique Kerber

2015 Record: 30-12

Grand Slam Record: 50-30

Wimbledon Record: 12-7

Wimbledon Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: After compiling an 8-9 record in the first three months of 2015, Kerber has since gone 22-3 and won three titles (Charleston, Stuttgart, Birmingham).


Karolina Pliskova

2015 Record: 35-13

Grand Slam Record: 9-12

Wimbledon Record: 2-3

Wimbledon Best Result: 2R (2013, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Following the 2014 U.S. Open, Pliskova has more than doubled her WTA main draw match wins: 42 wins between April 2008 – August 2014, 49 wins between September 2014 – June 2015.


Eugenie Bouchard

2015 Record: 8-13

Grand Slam Record: 27-9

Wimbledon Record: 8-2

Wimbledon Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: Having lost her last six three-set matches, Bouchard now has a losing WTA record in three setters (20-25).


Agnieszka Radwanska

2015 Record: 22-15

Grand Slam Record: 93-36

Wimbledon Record: 31-9

Wimbledon Best Result: RU (2012)

Fast Fact: Radwanska’s grass court record in the last year is 10-3 (77%), compared to a record of 27-22 (55%) off of grass.


Andrea Petkovic

2015 Record: 20-12

Grand Slam Record: 34-22

Wimbledon Record: 5-4

Wimbledon Best Result: 3R (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: The highest ranked player Petkovic has defeated on grass is Garcia (No. 33) who she defeated in 2015 Eastbourne.


Venus Williams

2015 Record: 20-7

Grand Slam Record: 225-59

Wimbledon Record: 73-12

Wimbledon Best Result: Won (2000, ’01, ’05, ’07, ‘08)

Fast Fact: 2015 Wimbledon marks Venus’ 67th appearance in a Grand Slam event, tying her with Navratilova for second place in the Open Era (Frazier, 71).


Sabine Lisicki

2015 Record: 15-15

Grand Slam Record: 48-27

Wimbledon Record: 23-6

Wimbledon Best Result: RU (2013)

Fast Fact: Lisicki has appeared in 27 Grand Slam events, but nearly half of her match wins (23 of 48) are from her last 5 Wimbledon appearances.




Notable Quotables from the Queen’s Club Tennis Tournament


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 21, 2015) LONDON, England – Notable quotes from 2015 Queens Club tournament:

Nick Kyrgios, asked about buying a scooter: “I don’t know, mate. I just bought a scooter because I felt like buying a scooter. I can’t tell you if it’s linked to tennis or anything like that. I just bought a scooter.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka, asked after their match about Nick Kyrgios’s comment that he doesn’t want to think about tennis for a couple of weeks: “I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that. I’m sure he’s not going to switch off…If he switch off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon…When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. When I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.”


Rafael Nadal, asked if he’d look for advice from Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager of Chelsea Football Club, who attended Queen’s on Tuesday: “He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.”

315dimitrov fh-001

Grigor Dimitrov, asked about being defending champion: “It’s one of the tournaments for me that every time I step on that court I feel like I own the court.”


Kevin Anderson, asked if he’d rather watch a guy with big aces or a match with lots of rallies: “Sometimes it would be interesting to see both.”


Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, asked after his three-set Muller match if he was having as good a time as it looked like: “I was when I was winning.”


Milos Raonic, on this year’s extended grass schedule: “I think just from the start of [Wimbledon] the quality of tennis will be better just because of time. You can’t really cheat time, spending time on court and so forth.”


Kevin Anderson, asked how much of an impression Kevin Curran, Wimbledon runner-up 30 years ago, made on him growing up: “Wayne Ferreira was the influence when I was growing up.”


Andy Murray, asked what shot he would pick if he could have a shot from any other player on the tour: “Probably would be Isner’s serve, I think. I mean, it makes the game a whole lot easier when you can serve like that.”


Kevin Anderson, asked to name the best servers in the world at present: “If you just look at the serve itself, I think – if you just looked at numbers, I think you’d have to look at [Ivo] Karlovic or [John] Isner. I mean, just in terms of stats…But I feel like Raonic, I feel like myself I think probably would round out the top four in terms of serving.”

Raonic trophy (1 of 3)

Milos Raonic, asked who he thought was the best server in the world: “I believe myself.”


Gilles Simon, asked if he thought he was reading Milos Raonic’s serve better in the second set: “I was guessing. There is nothing to read.”


Andy Murray, in response to the comment that the last time he won at Queen’s he went on to win Wimbledon: “Yeah, but that means nothing, really. You know, it’s great preparation obviously, but, you know, I think it has only happened six times where someone has won Queen’s and gone on to win.”


Andy Murray, in response to a comment about his nine-match winning streak since Jonas Bjorkman joined his team: “I also have to give a lot of credit to Amélie, because a lot of the work I have done with her is paying off. All of the things I have worked on with her, like using my variety is something I have spoken about a lot in the past, that’s things I have been working on with her for quite a while now.”


And finally, this exchange…

Question (after Kevin Anderson talked about being given Jack Nicklaus’ three grass courts in Florida to use for training): What’s your favorite Jack Nicholson film?

Anderson: Jack Nicholson?

Question: Or Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson: I don’t know. Is he in any films?


Andy Murray Wins Fourth Queen’s Club Crown

(June 21, 2015) Top seed Andy Murray won his fourth title at Queen’s Club on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over unseeded Kevin Anderson. This was the Scot’s 36th career ATP World Tour tournament title. He joins John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt as the only four-time winners of the London event.

Due to Saturday’s rain, Murray was forced to win two matches on Sunday. He won his semifinal 6-3, 7-6 (4) over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the morning with the final in the afternoon.

“I served extremely well and then, thankfully, when the chances came I managed to come up with some kind of instinctive shots,” Murray said about his match against the South African.

“I felt like once I got into the rallies I was doing really well, but it was obviously tough to do that some of the times. He served an extremely high percentage of first serves and was serving big. But it was a good performance.”

“It was tough today,” Anderson said. “I didn’t feel like I played my best tennis today, but I think that’s a lot to do with the way Andy played. I felt he served really well. I tried to be aggressive… It’s tough grass-court tennis like that; just a couple of breaks, and then [the] match feels over. It was pretty tough out there today.”

For Murray it was his third title of 2015, he won events in Munich and Madrid.


Federer Reaches Tenth Halle Final, Murray-Troicki Semi Rained Out in London

(June 20, 2015) Roger Federer is looking for a record eighth Gerry Weber Open title on Sunday when he takes on Andreas Seppi. Seppi reached the final when Kei Nishikori retired from their match with a left calf injury. Nishikori said he hurt yesterday and felt a bit of pain today and did not want to take a chance with Wimbledon approaching.


In London, rain has forced the Andy Murray Victor Troicki match to be completed on Sunday morning. The match was at 3-3 when Troicki fell and injured his left shoulder, received treatment but the rain stopped the contest.

Gerry Weber Open

Halle, Germany


Singles – Semi-finals
[1] R. Federer (SUI) d [8] I. Karlovic (CRO) 76(3) 76(4)
A. Seppi (ITA) d [2] K. Nishikori (JPN) 41 ret. (calf injury)

Doubles – Semi-finals

[2] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA) 76(10) 46 13-11

STADION start 13:00
[1] R. Federer (SUI) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs [2] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)



Aegon Championships

London, Englnd


Singles – Semi-finals
K. Anderson (RSA) d [7] G. Simon (FRA) 63 67(6) 63

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[1] A. Murray (GBR) vs V. Troicki (SRB) 33

Not Before 2:25 pm
[1] A. Murray (GBR) or V. Troicki (SRB) vs K. Anderson (RSA)
[4] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs [3] D. Nestor (CAN) / L. Paes (IND) or [2] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
[3] D. Nestor (CAN) / L. Paes (IND) vs [2] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)


At Queen’s Club Wawrinka Loses, Simon Ends Kokkinakis’ Long Journey


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 17, 2015) LONDON, England – The big emotional high notes of the first two days at Queen’s – Monday, Lleyton’s Hewitt’s 16th and final appearance, Tuesday, Rafael Nadal’s loss – have given way to mid-tournament flatness. The biggest news of the day is that Hewitt, who is currently ranked 117, has been granted a wild card into his 17th and final Wimbledon. Until or unless British favorite Andy Murray loses, that may be it for major excitements until the final. True, two current Grand Slam champions are still in the draw – Stan Wawrinka, facing Kevin Anderson, and Marin Cilic, facing Adrian Mannarino – but neither is famed for his grass court game.

There were hopes – if not high ones, at least of the “new! kid! big! chances!” variety – for the second round match between the veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon and newcomer Thanasi Kokkinakis. For two games, this seemed justified as Kokkinakis quickly went up 2-0. And then…those hopes faded quickly despite some nice moments: a dink volley here, a well-executed drop shot/lob combination there. The match lasted an hour and 16 minutes and went 6-4, 6-2 to Simon.

“I liked it yesterday,” Kokkinakis joked about the grass. “I didn’t like it so much today.”

Afterwards, Kokkinakis tweeted, “Feel bad for the spectators tbh about that one….😐 yuck. Hope to redeem myself on the doubles court with Rusty”. To the press, he explained, “I felt like I had to say something. I felt like it was one of my poorest performances in a while.”

Jet lag can sometimes be worse a couple of days later than it is at first. Kokkinakis had planned to play the qualifying here, but instead went home to Adelaide to pay a quick visit to his sick grandmother. He was on the way back when he got the news Queen’s had awarded him a wild card. He arrived back Monday at noon, and although he declined to blame the “something like 48 hours in [the air in] three days”, he admitted to waking up “pretty tired” this morning and to getting distracted by spotting Top Gear TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson in the crowd.

Wawrinka vs Anderson which ended 7-6, 7-6 in Anderson’s favor, was a more tense affair but, much like the grass-court contests of 20 years ago, came down to serve and return. “Maybe [I] didn’t return great,” Wawrinka said afterwards, “but he was serving big”.

Yesterday, after his win against a coughing Nick Kyrgrios, Wawrinka said he thought he’d be better able to manage the aftermath of winning his second major title; after the first, the 2014 Australian Open, he took six weeks off, and then struggled to get his form back for some months.

“Australia, everything was new and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said yesterday. “Everybody was saying it’s going to change your life and change your career. And that’s true. You win a first Grand Slam, especially in that era and you have only the big four winning Grand Slam since 10 years. So that was a big thing for myself. I did few mistakes after. I had a lot of ups and downs. I had to learn and to change the way I was and trying to adapt myself to my new life. ” This time, although he thinks the achievement is bigger, “what’s coming after, I have more under control”. And, of course, no chance to take off much time: Queen’s and Wimbledon awaited.

Today’s losses, put together with Nadal’s, leave the bottom half of the tournament draw looking a little anemic: Milos Raonic, seeded 3, and Simon, seeded 7, are all the remaining seeds, and they play each other in the quarter-finals on Friday. For the right to face the winner of that match in the semi-finals, Anderson will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who put out Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose win against Nadal carried him no further. In the top half, tomorrow top-seeded Murray faces Fernando Verdasco, Grigor Dimitrov faces Gilles Muller, fourth-seeded Marin Cilic faces Viktor Troicki, and, in probably the most interesting match-up of the four, John Isner plays eighth seed Feliciano Lopez, who is an exceptionally strong grass-court player.


“I was not lucky enough today,” Rafael Nadal Falls in Opening Round of Queen’s Club


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 16, 2015) LONDON, England – On Monday, Lleyton Hewitt had a match point and lost it and, soon afterwards, the match. Today, Alexandr Dolgopolov, up against Rafael Nadal in the first round at Queen’s Club, found himself in the same situation: a single match point, on his own serve, in the second set tiebreak. A game, later, having held serve to open the third set, Dolgopolov was still shaking his head. In that second set tiebreak, he led 5-4 with two service points to come. The match point itself, on the Nadal serve, was always a trickier ask.


“Here is the right place to be for me today, and that’s my decision.” Nadal said on Monday, and “I feel myself ready to play well, and I gonna try.” noting that as long as his knees as fine he has “chances to compete well”. Today, he said, he doesn’t have the physical limitations he had in 2012 and 2013. Still, the first half of the year was poor, by his standards, and he said his main goal now is to qualify for the year-end championships. “Fourteen are enough,” he said, when asked if he felt himself ready to start winning Grand Slam titles again.


It’s three years since Nadal last played at Queen’s, largely, as he admitted in his opening press conference, for tax reasons. Most countries charge foreign athletes taxes on their local earnings; you (or your accountant) claim back what you’ve paid if it’s under a certain threshold. But a few years ago, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs began claiming that foreign tennis players owe Britain taxes on all their worldwide income, including endorsements, for the days they are in this country, on the basis that it’s appearing at Wimbledon that enables them to earn those monies. Andre Agassi took a case to court – and lost. For most players this is likely more nuisance than vast expense (although they’re likely paying higher accountants’ fees), but for the top few the difference could be a substantial chunk.


“I think changed a little bit the last ‑‑ still not the ideal situation for us, but is better than a few years ago,” Nadal said Monday. “I had to stop playing here for a while. But I like playing here. You know, I think is the best thing possible to try to play well and for my game. Is obvious that I have to say thanks to Halle for they give me during that years, but is obvious that in Halle I didn’t play well, no? Stuttgart, of course, were good. Here the courts are good.”


This was a great match for fans of spins, angles, and all-court play; both players are, after all, at their most comfortable on clay.


“I like it more the last few years,” Dolgopolov said of grass after the match. “I never played in my junior life on grass, so the first years was tough for me to figure out the movements.” He grew up on clay, and had to learn the hard way that sliding on grass was a bad idea. “You just fall down.” Asked about his sidespin backhand, a shot shown off to great effect toward the end of the second set, he said, “I just know it’s uncomfortable.” He added, “My father tried to teach me all my shots. Then I try to use them as I need to win matches.”


Indeed, Halle did not work out too well for Nadal: In 2014, he lost his first (second-round) match to wild card Dustin Brown; in 2013 he withdrew and then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis; in 2012 he lost in the quarterfinals in both singles (Philipp Kohlschreiber) and doubles (partnered with Marcel Granollers) – and then lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol. What Nadal may have forgotten is that other than 2008, when he beat Novak Djokovic in the final to win the title, his showings at Queen’s haven’t been quite so stellar either: he lost in the quarters in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, and withdrew in 2009. Still: two Wimbledon titles, 2008 and 2010. As he says, grass is “probably the second surface where I had more success in my career, no?”


When Dolgopolov lost his next serve game, giving Nadal a 2-1 lead in that third set, it looked like yes, indeed, yesterday was repeating itself. With Nadal serving at 4-3, Dolgopolov lost his first break point with an inside-out forehand that landed wide – but took his second with an angled volley Nadal could do nothing about. Four-all, Dolgopolov serving. A double-fault gave Nadal two break points. The first was saved with a series of wide angles to outrun the Spaniard. The second, Dolgopolov hit a curling backhand with such wicked spin to Nadal’s backhand that all the latter could do was hit it into the net. Deuce. With Nadal coming in, Dolgopolov attempted a lob that went wildly wrong. An ace saved that third break point. Nadal then netted an attempted backhand approach shot to give Dolgopolov a game point, which he won when an attempted Nadal lob dropped just long. Back on serve, 5-4, Dolgopolov, with Nadal now serving to stay in the match.


A superb angled response to a Nadal drop shot secured the first point for Dolgopol. Nadal leveled with a forehand winner, but then netted a shot for 15-30. A return winner gave Dolgopolov two match points, the first of which he snatched with a well-executive passing shot, taking advantage of a slightly tentative Nadal foray to the net to win 6-3,6-7,6-4.


Afterwards, Nadal was disappointed but stoic. “I played against uncomfortable player in the first round here, and I had my chance. I didn’t play a bad match, but matches sometimes here decide in just a few things, and I was not lucky enough today. I probably didn’t play enough aggressive when I had the break up in the 4-3.” He will stay on to play the doubles with Marc Lopez, then will return home to Mallorca for a few days before coming back to practice for Wimbledon.


Dolgopolov was, of course, happier: “Overall I’m really happy with the match. You know, not even because I beat Nadal but the way I played and the way I fought back after a disappointing second set.” He meets Kevin Anderson, Hewitt’s conqueror, in the next round.




Lleyton Hewitt Bids Farewell to Queen’s Club in Loss to Kevin Anderson

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 15, 2015) LONDON, England – There are certain kinds of matches that no one likes to play. The young kid swinging pressurelessly from her heels when you’re the established, perhaps even aging, champion (Chris Evert’s 1989 Houston final against 15-year-old Monica Seles made her decide to retire). Or: the retiring established star that everyone else is rooting for when you’re a mid-career journeyman.


The latter was Kevin Anderson‘s lot on Monday on the Centre Court at the Queen’s Club, where he faced Lleyton Hewitt playing in his second-to-last grass-court tournament before he retires after next year’s Australian Open, gets into the pumpkin waiting outside, and turns into a Davis Cup captain.


Not that Hewitt is preparing for this. “I’ve prepared my whole life,” he said after today’s match, meaning that stretching all the way back into childhood he was always planning, preparing, training, doing whatever his body needed so he could play his best. The idea of not having to prepare for anything sounds like his idea of freedom. He will miss, he said, the motivation of playing the majors and Davis Cup, but he relishes the idea of “Not always having to think about training and all those 1-percenters you have to do to keep playing on the tour.”


For the first set and a half, Hewitt did not play like it was almost midnight. He sliced, ran, lobbed, and used all the grass court skills that have won him 52 matches here – more than any other player in the Open Era. Among active players, only Roger Federer has won more grass-court matches, and that only by a hair: 132* for Federer (as of Monday), 128 for Hewitt. Titles are a different story: Federer 14, Hewitt 8. Still, one was at Wimbledon (2002, beating David Nalbandian in the final) and four at Queen’s, where this is his 16th outing: 2000-2002 and 2006, beating, respectively, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, Henman, and James Blake in the finals. The surprise is to remember that Hewitt and Federer are the same age: Hewitt broke through five years earlier, half a tennis generation.


In the first-set tiebreak, Hewitt got a mini-break on the second point, and that carried him through to take the set. In the second set, he broke Anderson early on, and serving at 5-4 everything looked solid. Match point, Hewitt serving at 40-30, nets a forehand. Still, it’s only deuce, and while the winning horizon had receded just a little, surely…Double-fault. Advantage, Anderson. A long series of cross-court backhands followed, which Anderson interrupted with a down-the-line forehand that Hewitt scraped back, giving Anderson the chance to hit a winner. Which he did. Now 5-5, Anderson serving. Hewitt won the first point with a fine lob over Anderson’s head – not an easy task, since Anderson is one of those beanpole giant servers that seem to come out of mothballs the day after the French Open final. Maybe that lob was, in the long run, a bad idea. The rest of the game took only a few seconds: three aces, and a service winner. Serving to stay in the set, at deuce, Hewitt netted a backhand and then sent a forehand long. Set all.


Probably few would have expected in 1998, when 16-year-old Lleyton Hewitt broke through to win his first ATP title that he would still be playing in 2015. The most surprising change in those years, he said, is, “The bigger guys, how well they move around now on the court.” Citing players like Anderson (6’8″), John Isner (6’10”), and Ivo Karlovic (6’10”), he noted that they are not just big servers: “They are quality players from the back of the court, and they make a lot of balls out there.” When he started, he said, the big servers didn’t do much besides serve and volley – and if you could pin them to the back of the court, “They weren’t going to make a lot of balls.”


The third set was all Anderson, who quickly went up 3-0, and although Hewitt fashioned a break point serving at 1-3, the shot he netted looked tired, far from the Energizer Bunny of 2002. Anderson ran out the match 6-7, 7-5, 6-2.


Looking ahead, Hewitt, who loves this time of year, expressed the wry hope that his first match at Wimbledon will be easier than today’s or his second-round loss in Stuttgart to Nicolas Mahut: “It would be nice to play someone who’s not quite as good as those two on grass first up, at least. You’re in the hands of the gods, though, when you’re not seeded.” Which he won’t be: his current ranking is 117, and he needed a wild card to get in here.


Afterwards, the Queen’s Club presented Hewitt with a replica of its giant silver trophy and a bottle of Moet Chandon with his name inscribed upon it.


Anderson was pretty happy with his win – but for Hewitt at this point even a loss feels something like that. “Not many people in sport get to go out on their terms,” he said. “It looks like I will be able to do that.”