The warm-up events in the lead up to Wimbledon often throw up their fair share of shock results, largely as a result of the truncated grass-court season, sandwiched between the second and third Majors of the season. But the two most significant tournaments on the grass after Wimbledon, the Halle Open and the Queen’s Club Championships, have been dominated by the sport’s big guns of late. In Germany, Federer has won nine titles since 2003 and appeared in two further finals. He will be the favourite again this year.
At Queen’s, the picture has been similar. The recent roll of honour in west London includes Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick, who won four titles apiece in the 2000’s, Rafael Nadal, the champion in 2008, and Andy Murray, five times a winner since 2009. Last year, the final was contested between 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic and then-12-time Major champion Novak Djokovic, with the Croat winning in three sets.
Of course, there is plenty of motivation to win the title at Queen’s beyond preparing for Wimbledon. It’s one of the most prestigious events on the Tour, thanks to its long history and iconic Centre Court. Perhaps more importantly, it offers 500 valuable ATP ranking points and €429,955 in prize money to the winner. And don’t be surprised if they, along with the trophy, end up going to an unheralded name.
Also, it’s not only players that do well at Queen’s. Betting on tennis is popular, and that includes grass court tennis as well. As bet365 offers bonus codes, the tournament champion might not be the only one collecting a reward for a surprise win at Queen’s.
Other Queen’s Club Champions
Surprise victors, such as Sam Querrey in 2010 and Feliciano Lopez in 2017, have been few and far between. But that could well change in 2019. The entry list does boast some real star power. Grand Slam champions Juan Martin del Potro and Stan Wawrinka, as well as last year’s Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson will be competing. On top of that, we’ll see rising stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov. However, it’s difficult to pick out a clear and obvious favourite for the title.
For a number of those players, it is set to be their first grass-court tournament of the season. For Anderson, who missed the entire clay-court season with a shoulder injury, it will be a first tournament of any description since the Miami Open in March. And with the transition on to the fast, slick grass courts amongst the most jarring changes in the sport, that could leave big names vulnerable to early defeats, especially against that select few who live for the grass-court swing.
The serve-volleying former-champion Lopez, though no longer at the peak of his powers and playing in Queen’s with a wild card, has a game that few will relish facing. He will also partner with Andy Murray in doubles, in the Brit’s comeback to competitive tennis. The flat, powerful strokes of Mikhail Kukushkin, the world #47 from Kazakhstan could also do real damage. Nick Kyrgios, meanwhile, may be a divisive figure, but there is no doubt that he can play, particularly when he gets on the grass, where his excellent serve can be almost impossible to counter. And Grigor Dimitrov, another former champion at Queen’s and once-ranked as high as 3rd in the world, has been showing signs of life recently.
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