Murray is happy to be back on the green, green grass of Queen's

 

The tennis year moves from clay to grass at the speed of a John Isner serve. No sooner will the French Open be completed than attention will turn to the first significant tournaments of the grass-court season, most notably the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club. With Wimbledon starting a fortnight tomorrow, there is no time to lose as players try to find their feet again on grass.

Andy Murray, right, was playing in the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday, but yesterday the Scot was at Queen's for his first practice session. "It's great to be back on grass," the world No 4 said. "It's meant a lot to win the title here two out of the last three years. To do well here is always the best possible preparation leading up to Wimbledon."

In the absence of the world's top three players, Murray is the top seed. Rafael Nadal has followed Roger Federer's lead by playing at Halle in Germany this week, while Novak Djokovic is not planning to play in any tournaments before Wimbledon. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Nadal at Queen's last year before losing to Murray in the final, and Janko Tipsarevic are the other top-10 players in west London.

Some of the leading men, including Djokovic, often prefer to play in exhibitions in the week immediately before Grand Slam events. Djokovic played at The Boodles tournament at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire en route to Wimbledon last year and is playing there again next week.

Four Britons have been awarded wild cards at Queen's. James Ward, the world No 142, has a lot of ranking points to defend after reaching the semi-finals last year, and Jamie Baker will hope to continue his rise up the world rankings after recently reaching a career-best No 206. Oliver Golding won the US Open boys title last year, while Liam Broady, runner-up in the junior event at Wimbledon last summer, will be making his debut at main tour level.

Murray has a bye in the first round and will then play either the beaten 2007 finalist, France's Nicolas Mahut, or Spain's Guillermo Garcia Lopez. The talented young Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov, could be his third-round opponent, while another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, is seeded to meet him in the quarter-finals. Andy Roddick or Gilles Simon could await in the semi-finals.

Ward has been drawn against the ninth seed, South Africa's Kevin Anderson, and Broady takes on the big-serving left-hander, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Golding and Baker will meet for the right to face Tsonga.

Wild card Francesca Schiavone will be the top seed at this week's Aegon Classic at Edgbaston. Elena Baltacha, the British No 1 and No 15 seed, will face Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei, while Anne Keothavong, who will become British No 1 tomorrow, plays Austria's Tamira Paszek. Heather Watson faces Paula Ormaechea, of Argentina, and Laura Robson meets one of eight qualifiers.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week