Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov to add strength to Queen's Club line-up

March 8, 2018

The Queen's Club Championship is one of the most prestigious grass court tournaments, a perfect preparation for Wimbledon on the other side of London and an event that has regularly been voted the best in its class on the ATP circuit.

It used to be seen as the best ATP 250 tournament, but its expansion and upgrade two years ago to an ATP 500 simply made it the best in that class instead, as voted for by the players. 

The endorsement should come as no surprise, as so many of the top players in the world have featured in the tournament - and fans enjoying corporate hospitality at the venue this June will get to see several more. Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov are the latest to reveal they will be in the line-up. 

Rafael Nadal confirmed his plans to take part last month, while Andy Murray, who has won the trophy a record five times, has committed to playing there for the rest of his career. It will probably be the first chance for fans to see him in action on British soil this year when he returns to action after his recent hip operation. 

Nadal will himself be coming back after a hip injury, albeit one that should only see him sitting out Indian Wells and Miami before returning for the clay court season. If that part of the tennis year follows the normal pattern, he will be turning up in west London with another French Open title in his locker. The big question will be whether he can reverse his lack of success on grass since winning his second Wimbledon title in 2010.

Cilic will be eyeing up Wimbledon success himself after hobbling to defeat in last year's final against Roger Federer. Having also lost to the Swiss legend in this year's Australian Open final, the towering Croat will be keener than ever to add to his one Grand Slam success, the 2014 US Open. Queen's will also provide him with a score to settle, having lost last year's final against Feliciano Lopez. But he has also tasted glory there, winning in 2012. 
Dimitrov was the Queen's Club champion in 2014 and has been widely tipped as a future Grand Slam winner himself. Somehow this has never quite come about, but his triumph in the ATP World Tour finals in November has proven he can beat the best around. 

Winning at the Queen's Club is no guarantee of subsequent Grand Slam success, but it cannot be a coincidence that it's superb grass court surfaces - regularly praised by the players - have played host to a number of men who have gone on to complete the London grass court double at Wimbledon the following fortnight. 
Murray managed this feat in both his Wimbledon-winning years, Nadal did it in 2008, while past legends to achieve this double include Pete Sampras in 1995 and 1999, Boris Becker in 1985 and John McEnroe in 1981 and 1984.

With a stellar line-up being assembled for this year's tournament and more big names likely to be added in the next month or two, there is a good chance someone will repeat the feat this year. 

Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images from Keith Prowse subscription

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