It’s not often you will witness Nadal and Federer grace a 250 level tournament, but with any luck you will here. With Nadal’s exploits at the French, he could withdraw, so don’t hold your breath.
The grind of the French does give welcome way to the smell of fresh cut grass in my opinion and a different brand of tennis, suiting net-rushers and the slice backhand. Speaking of slice backhands, watch out for Alex ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov, who can do some damage with his wicked slider and Bernie ‘Atomic’ Tomic who uses his to great effect.
Lasst es brechen!
ATP Level: 250
Defending Champion: Philipp ‘PK’ Kohlschreiber – Defending in a daunting field including Federer, Nadal and Berdych.
Sleeper: Dustin ‘Hash’ Brown – His explosive serve and volley game is the highlight 1st rounder against Kohlschreiber
Veteran Watch: Tommy ‘Gun’ Haas – Winner in 2009, playing well and could roll back the years.
Up and Coming: Cedrik Marcel Stebe – An unknown on grass, so we’ll get a first look at him on the turf.
Slumping: Mikhail Youzhny – Was ‘Sorri’ for his French outing, but he was playing Ferrer. Needs some wins though.
On Fire: Rafa Nadal – Always on fire on clay, so can he re-group in time here?
My pick: Roger Federer – Loves Halle being a 5 time winner. Looks good to pick up a 6th title.
Did You Know? There have been five German winners since the inaugural event in 1993: Michael Stich (1994), Nicolas Kiefer (1999), David Prinosil (2000), Tommy Haas (2009) and Philipp Kohlschreiber (2011).
Watch: Halle Uncovered
Queens Club, London
The bigger of the 2 grass events this week and perhaps more prestigious, Queens Club rivals Wimbledon for it’s quality of grass courts. It’s also got one, big trophy.
Defending champ Murray, has a difficult draw with Mahut, Muller, Anderson, Stakhovsky and F-Lopez, all capable of big wins on grass. Roddick gets an easier draw and needs it, while 2002 Wimbledon finalists Nalbandian and Hewitt grace the event also desperately needing some wins before impending retirement perhaps.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 250
Defending Champion: Andy ‘White Fang’ Murray – Looking for his 2nd Queens title and to find his legs on grass again.
Sleeper: Sam ‘Samurai’ Querry – Loads of sleeper hits here, but my pick is him with that serve.
Veteran Watch: Lleyton ‘Rusty’ Hewitt – Gets a highly unpleasant 1st round against old foe Karlovic
Up and Coming: Grigor Dimitrov – Baby Fed’s game should suit grass. Could be a nice tournament for him.
Slumping: Andy Roddick – A-Rod’s a 3 time winner at Queens, he loves it here so could be a confidence boost.
On Fire: Jo Tsonga – Forget Djokovic, Jo-Willy is white hot right now.
My pick: Jo Tsonga – Could play Murray in the final but will dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Did You Know? In 2011, Andy Murray became the first two-time British champion since Francis Gordon Lowe (1913-14, ’25).
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks and amusement!