The ATP World Tour: What to expect
After the French Open, the tennis giants move on to the grass courts. There are only five grass court events on the ATP World Tour calendar. The conversion from clay to grass is tough and the short time span between the French Open and Wimbledon makes it tougher. Players hardly get a couple of weeks in between these two grand slams.
Before Wimbledon, the four tournaments that help players establish their feet on clay are the Gerry Weber Open, Aegon Championships London, Aegon Championships Eastbourne and the Topshelf Open. All the aforementioned tournaments are ATP 250 tournaments which are comparatively smaller to the ATP Masters 1000 or 500 which are played on grass. Through all these tournaments, the players will end up at Wimbledon on June 23, which is third grand slam of the year.
The Gerry Weber Open, played in Halle, Germany, includes big names of the tennis world such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The former has won this title six times in the past while the latter is yet to get past the quarter-finals stage. Other players in this tournament include Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Richard Gasquet, the tall Jerzy Janowicz and the two times champion Tommy Haas. While it provides these players the ideal opportunity to strengthen their grass court game, tennis fans will also see some entertaining yet close encounters.
The second on-going tournament is the Aegon Championship, which is taking place in London. At this event, Stan Wawrinka is seeded number one. Other players include Tomas Berdych, Scot Andy Murray, rising youngster Grigor Dimitrov (who many say is the next big thing), the unpredictable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and Latvian Gulbis. If you are a Federer versus Nadal fan, you might not want to follow this event, but one thing is for sure and that is the unpredictability of this tournament; it can go in anyone’s favour.
The Indo-Pak Express of Aisamul Haq and Rohan Bopanna are seeded fifth at this event as the Bryan brothers are seeded on top of the rank. Earlier this week, Haq was invited to the House of Commons by speaker John Bercow to appreciate his efforts for peace through his ‘Stop war, Start Tennis Foundation’.
Novak Djokovic did not play either of the inaugural grass court events; he decided to head to Ibiza with his friends to enjoy a couple of days in the Mediterranean instead.
The Topshelf Open that begins from June 15 will have players the likes of David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Mahut and Vasek Pospisil. The Eastbourne event’s draw sheet, which starts from June 14, includes Richard Gasquet, Dolgopolov, Gilles Simon, Feliciano Lopez and Andreas Seppi.
This year the 2014 FIFA World Cup has coincided with all of these tournaments. The adrenaline pumping this summer, between tennis fans and football fans, will be contagious. Many of us enjoy both the sports and making a choice between the two will be extremely difficult. So for all the sports fans out there, keep an eye on your match schedules, hop onto your sofa and be ready to switch from football to tennis or vice versa because this ‘sports summer’ is pumping!
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