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
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence