Gerry Weber Open
The Gerry Weber Open kicks off one of five grass court events on the ATP World Tour calendar and the lucky Germans have the prospect of a Federer-Nadal final. These days the chances of that are lessened as Federer’s magic splutters but grass is still his best surface. Last year, he was beaten by the super-vet Tommy Haas, who’s not slowing down at 35 and will look to repeat. Germans do well here and 2011 champ Phillip Kohlschreiber has a deadly game when it’s on and he has a great chance to do well here. Another player with a weapon of mass destruction is Milos Raonic, who will be tough to break by any player.
Lasst es brechen!
ATP Level: 250
Defending Champion: Tommy ‘The Hitman’ Haas – A quarterfinal run in Paris, 1 title and 21-9 record this season. Life is sehr gut!
Nasty Floater: Ernests ‘Lights Out’ Gulbis – Proved to be a nightmare for the big names on clay. Will it transfer to grass this season?
Veteran Watch: Mikhail Youzhny – Squeaks into this category. A fabulous grass court player and unseeded in the draw.
Young bloods: Kei Nishikori – Much respected by the top players and the kind of solid game that will serve him well on grass.
Slumping: Janko Tipsarevic – 2013 has not been his year, so perhaps as change of surface might turn things around for the Serb.
On Fire: Rafael Nadal – Rafa has always been able to make a surprisingly good transition to grass, so he should pick up a few wins here this week.
My pick: Roger Federer – Even though he’s getting written off of late, the Swiss Army Knife still has enough options in the bag.
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 is a comeback tournament for a lot of players this year including Del Potro and Murray back from injury and Berdych who has not played here since 2005. A lot of big servers like Anderson and Querry will relish the change of pace from the clay and could threaten the top guys. No Nalbandian this year for excitement, so we’ll have to settle for just sweat and tears.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 250
Defending Champion: Marin Cilic – He will never win a title in the fashion he did last year when Nalbandian lost the plot by kicking a line judge, so he will have to win it fair and square this time.
Nasty Floater: Bernard ‘Atomic’ Tomic – We know the damage he can do on grass with that slice. Could face Dolgopolov for a slice-off in round 3.
Veteran Watch: Lleyton ‘Rusty’ Hewitt – The 4 time champion at Queens is still a threat to anyone on grass. Could face Querry in round 3.
Young Blood: Grigor Dimitrov – Having a break out year and if he really is like Federer, should have the tools on grass to do well.
Slumping: Juan Del Potro – More about injuries than form has put the Tower of Tandil out of the game. He’ll cause trouble here though.
On Fire: Jo Tsonga – His semi-final run in Paris will have given him confidence, which he can transfer to his better surface, if he’s not too deflated.
My pick: Andy Murray – Having won here now and at home, the Murricane should have enough to pick up his 2nd title.
Did You Know? Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych lead an all-star exhibition match scheduled for finals day to raise money for The Royal Marsden, where British player Ross Hutchins is being treated for cancer.
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more tips!