Ivanisevic joins Queen's parade

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The Independent Online

Goran Ivanisevic, whose Wimbledon triumph last year captivated sports enthusiasts and casual observers alike, has confirmed his intention to compete in the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club, London from 10 to 16 June.

The 30-year-old from Croatia, whose career is threatened by a shoulder injury, hopes to make his 11th challenge for the Stella singles title, a trophy that has eluded him.

Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian world No 1, will attempt to win the title for the third consecutive year, a distinction he would share with John McEnroe (1979-81). "As soon as I pick up my racket and get on the grass at the Stella, I feel match tough," Hewitt said. "I made the semis in in 1999, and the next two years I won the title. In my opinion, they are the best grass courts in the world. The bounce is true and the ball really comes on to your racket."

Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, Britain's top two players, have also entered he tournament. Henman, who has recovered from the neck injury which ended his challenge for the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami last week, has twice been a runner-up at Queen's, to Hewitt last year and Pete Sampras in 1999. Rusedski was a semi-finalist in 1997.

Mark Philippoussis, of Australia, the 1997 champion, and Wayne Ferreira, of South Africa, who won the title in 1992, will also be in the draw, along with Russia's Marat Safin, the Americans Jan-Michael Gambill and James Blake, Thomas Enqvist, of Sweden, and Guillermo Canas, of Argentina. Wild cards have been reserved for Sampras and Juan Carlos Ferrero, of Spain.

Martin Lee failed to clear the first hurdle in his opening clay-court tournament of the season losing 6-1, 6-4 to Dominik Hrbaty in Portugal yesterday.

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