For over a century, The Queen’s Club has been taking a starring role in the British summer. The London club hosts the Fever-Tree Championships (historically The Queen's Club Championships, Stella Artois Championship and Aegon Championships), which is one of the most prestigious tennis events around. It was awarded the honour of being the ATP 500 Tournament of the Year in 2018 and it’s a wonderful showcase of British summer-time tennis.
It’s an important step on the season’s calendar as well. The tournament comes so early in the grass court swing, that it serves as an important primer for The Championships, Wimbledon. It also continues to attract the big names of the sport, and with the likes of Juan Martin del Potro, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Stefanos Tsitsipas lining up in 2019, this year is no exception.
Famous past winners include John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick and Britain’s own Andy Murray. It’s one of the most anticipated stops of the summer on the ATP Tour. Who will be walking away with the crown this season?
Tsitsipas heads up the seeds
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed for the Fever-Tree Championships this year. Tsitsipas arrives with two titles under his belt for the season from four appearances in Tour Finals. It’s been a fantastic year already from the fast-rising star. He will bring his energetic game to The Queen’s Club as he makes his debut at the tournament and heads into the grass court season following a round of sixteen exit at the French Open. The youngster is currently tied with Rafael Nadal for the most match wins this year, so he will regain the lead in that particular race if he makes progress here. He faces British opposition first up, in Kyle Edmund.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson is the second seed and this is a big step back into the game for him having missed the entire clay court season because of an elbow injury. Anderson had a first round exit last year at The Queen’s Club but did reach final in 2015 where he was beaten in straight sets by Andy Murray. The South African opens against Cameron Norrie, the current British Number 2.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro will be one of the draws in this year’s field, along with the reigning champion Marin Cilic. So that’s some star power lining up in the singles and for Del Potro, he goes straight into a huge clash against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov. That is a blockbuster match right out of the gate. The head-to-head between them is at one win each and third seed Del Potro will be looking to improve on his W5 L4 match record at The Queen’s Club.
Shapovalov’s fellow countryman Milos Raonic is lining up in the draw as well and he is a pretty accomplished grass court player. Raonic has been to the final of this tournament before when he made the showcase match in 2016. He lost in a tight three-set duel against Andy Murray. Raonic was in action in Stuttgart last week but withdrew from his semi-final because of a back injury. That was following a two-month spell out with a knee problem that caused him to skip the French Open. So he will be eager to get some good game time ahead of The Championships, Wimbledon.
Can Cilic defend his title?
Marin Cilic won the title from the position of top seed last year and he pulled off a shock in the final too. A big one. He was up against Novak Djokovic, who had entered as a wildcard and had made the final without dropping a set.
Cilic, of course, had to work hard for his title. It was Djokovic who actually got the first set on the board in that final, before a tremendously brave fightback from the Croatian. Cilic held his nerve to level the match in a second-set tie break, setting him up to push on to claim his second title at The Queen’s Club.
Andy Murray did play last year in the Singles, but lost in a big first-round duel against Nick Kyrgios. Fellow Brits Dan Evans, Jay Clarke and Cameron Norrie all joined Murray in first round losses. Kyle Edmund did go one better as he made it to the second round, before also falling to Kyrgios.
Just two of the top eight seeds made it past the second round in 2018; top seed Cilic who became champion and Sam Querrey who made it to the quarter-finals.
British hopes in the singles draw
Dan Evans makes his return to The Queen's Club, just hours after winning the Nottingham Open and a week after claiming the Surbiton Trophy on the Challenger Tour, so he . has some great momentum going into this week at Barons Court. With his steady progress over the last twelve months, he has been clawing his way up the rankings again. Evans has also reached the finals of the Open Quimper and Delray Beach in 2019.
Evans’ best effort here was a round of sixteen exit against Juan Martin del Potro in 2013. He has exited at the first round in his last two appearances. But with a bit of wind in his sails following his recent triumphs, strong momentum is certainly there for him. Is it enough to cause waves by making a deep run?
British Number One Kyle Edmund is looking for a bit of form. Perhaps the return to grass in front of home support will bring it. Edmund did win a Challenger Tour title back in early March at Indian Wells. He has, however, won just one of his last six matches, and that one win was recently at the French Open before having to retire in his second round fixture.
Cameron Norrie, ranked 50th in the world, reached the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland at the start of the year but lost out to Tennys Sandgren. He has struggled a little bit since then for form and will be looking to break new ground in this one too by getting past the first round of Queen’s for the first time ever.
The fourth Brit in the main draw is wildcard Jay Clarke, currently ranked 162nd in the world. This is a wonderful experience for the 20-year-old, who has been playing mostly on the Challenger Tour this year. Clarke did play in last year’s main draw, losing to American Sam Querrey in the first round in straight sets.
Below (from left to right) Edmund, Norrie, Evans and Clarke lead the host nation's charge in the singles tournament at the Fever-Tree Championships this year.
1st Quarter Preview
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed and will get a stern challenge in his opener against British favourite Kyle Edmund. The big-serving Edmund will have the crowd behind him and that should be a fantastic first-round matchup. Tsitsipas is one of the star attractions of the draw though and if he gets through his quarter of the draw, could meet someone like Juan Martin del Potro or Milos Raonic in the last four.
Other threats in the first quarter of the draw include eighth-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime who just reached the final of Stuttgart, former winner Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios. It’s a tough, competitive quarter. Following the great run from Canada’s Auger-Aliassime in Germany, will that make him a big dark horse contender at Queen’s? He’s one to keep an eye on.
2nd Quarter Preview
Juan Martin del Potro is one of two big seeds in the second quarter of the 2019 Fever-Tree Championships. He has that huge blockbuster duel with Denis Shapovalov to come in the first round and the winner of that could meet wildcard (and 2017 Champion) Feliciano Lopez in the second round.
It is sixth seed Milos Raonic who is the other heavyweight in that section of the draw. The Canadian is looking to find his feet after some injury setbacks. This second section could produce a huge quarter-final showdown. Delpo v Raonic or Shapovalov v Raonic, either way, it would be a big battle. Then looking ahead, top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas could be waiting in the final four.
3rd Quarter Preview
Top seed in the third quarter is fourth seed Daniil Medvedev who opens against Fernando Verdasco. British wildcard Jay Clarke is in this section as he lines up against France’s Lucas Pouille to start. fifth seed Marin Cilic will begin his title defence of the Queen’s title with a game against the unseeded Cristian Garin.
The draw does look favourable for Cilic here as it could open up nicely ahead of him until a potential quarter-final against Medvedev. Will an easy draw aid him in a potential title defence? That may be just what he needs to shake off some recent uninspiring form. It is the third quarter though, with neither Cilic or Medvedev in great form, the one that looks most likely to produce a surprise quarter finalist.
4th Quarter Preview
There’s plenty of British interest in the fourth quarter including one of the highlight matches of the first round. That is seventh seed Stan Wawrinka up against Dan Evans. That is one to get the home crowd going without question with Evans being in a nice bit of form. Wawrinka just had a great run to the quarter finals of the French Open, beating Tsitsipas and Dimitrov along the way. Although Wawrinka reached the 2014 semi final (losing to Grigor Dimitrov) he hasn’t been past the second round at The Queen’s Club in any of his last four attempts.
Cameron Norrie starts his campaign against second seed Kevin Anderson. Will Norrie be able to take advantage of the long absence that the South African has had from competitive action? Anderson may be a bit rusty and there for the taking. The winner of that match would likely meet Gilles Simon in the second round. Could we possibly see both British players pull off big upsets in the first round of this quarter?
Murray returns to The Queen’s Club
Andy Murray, who holds the record for the most singles titles at The Queen’s Club (five), is back for the London event this year. However, because he is still on a rehabilitation road following his hip surgery, it is the Doubles that he is entering, not the Singles. This will be his first return to any action since appearing at the Australian Open back in January. So the crowds in West Kensington will get to see the two-time Wimbledon champion.
Murray has partnered up with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez for his Doubles quest, but they have a tough start. They go straight into action against the number one seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. With the ATP Tour now on the grass court swing of the season, there is a chance that Murray will be also getting doubles action in at Eastbourne and at Wimbledon itself.
Andy Murray practices at The Queen's Club ahead of his return to action.
Murray’s return is just one of many great stories for this year’s tournament. How many of the British singles hopes will manage to make it past the first round? There are those big first round matches for the top British players. It’s Edmund v Tsitsipas, Norrie v Anderson and Evans v Wawrinka, all big home-support crowd-pleasing matches there.
There have been so many big-name winners of this tournament in the past that when it comes down to the business end, you expect to see someone like two-time winner Cilic or the controlled powerhouse of Del Potro getting close.
Perhaps the biggest buzz though is around the Queen’s debut of Tsitsipas and just what the in-form Greek can serve up in the capital. Of the main contenders, he arguably has the most competitive quarter to get through but that won’t faze him at all. Not with the brilliant form he has been carrying this season. He is the one to beat.
Secure your place at the Fever-Tree Championships
Official hospitality for the Fever-Tree Championships remains on sale with limited availability.
Do you like what you've read here? Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to hear about more sports news and blog posts, competitions and special offers from Keith Prowse hospitality.