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Your guide to the 2015 grass court season

The AEGON Championships 2012 at The Queen's Club
by Alex Sharp
Monday 8 June 2015

Wimbledon.com's guide to the 2015 grass court season...

For the first time the tennis calendar has incorporated a three-week grass-court swing in the lead up to The Championships at Wimbledon.

The players have battled through a gruelling clay-court season which culminated in Paris last week as Serena Williams battled to a 20th singles Grand Slam title whilst Stan Wawrinka scooped a second Major by defeating Novak Djokovic in a pulsating men’s final.

It’s now time for the players to head onto the hallowed green turf to try and find some form ahead of The Championships which begin on June 29th.

8-14 June (week 1)

Aegon WTA at Nottingham Tennis Centre (WTA International)

Lowdown:  WTA action returns to the leafy suburbs of Nottingham with the re-launch of this Wimbledon build-up tournament. It hasn’t been a Tour level event since 1973 and has spent the previous four seasons as an ITF Challenger tournament.

Sadly British No.1 Heather Watson has had to withdraw due to an elbow injury but she hopes to recuperate in time for SW19.

However it’s a strong field with 25 top 100 women taking part with British pairing Johanna Konta and Katy Dunne have been awarded wildcards to enter the main draw.

Who:  Agnieszka Radwanska, Varvara Lepchenko, Zarina Diyas, Casey Dellacqua, Daniela Hantuchova, Lauren Davis, Ajla Tomljanovic, Francesca Schiavone.

Defending champion: Jarmila Gajdosova (ITF level)

Did you know? The last time this tournament was on the main Tour (1973), Billie Jean King defeated Virginia Wade in the final 8-6, 6-4.


Topshelf Open, 's-Hertogenbosch (ATP 250 & WTA International)

Lowdown: The Netherlands based tournament was officially placed onto the ATP Tour in 1990 and has since attracted top players in their quest for grass court practice.

Recent champions include the likes of Mario Ancic, David Ferrer and Nicolas Mahut whilst on the women’s side Justine Henin, Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters have all held the trophy aloft.

This year’s main draws are Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who is desperate for an upturn in form, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fresh from his semi-final appearance at Roland Garros.

Who:  (men’s) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Roberto Bautista-Agut, David Goffin, Richard Gasquet, Ivo Karlovic, Fernando Verdasco, Lleyton Hewitt. (women’s)  Eugenie Bouchard, Andrea Petkovic, Belinda Bencic, Camila Giorgi, Madison Brengle, Coco Vandeweghe, Jelena Jankovic.

Defending champion: Roberto Bautista-Agut (men’s) and Coco Vandeweghe (women’s)

Did you know? Pat Rafter, a two-time Wimbledon finalist, holds the most titles at the Topshelf Open having won three consecutive titles from 1998-2000.


Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart (ATP 250) 

Lowdown: The Mercedes Cup has embraced the longer grass court campaign in 2015 by switching their surface from clay to lawns in Stuttgart for the first time.

Two-time champion Rafael Nadal headlines the field in Germany where he won the title in 2006 and 2007.

Meanwhile former world No.2 Tommy Haas makes a welcome return to the Tour having endured another year on the sidelines injured.

Who: Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Haas, Gael Monfils, Marcos Baghdatis, Borna Coric, Dominic Thiem, Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Defending champion:  Roberto Bautista-Agut (on clay)

Did you know?  Toni Nadal helps judge a competition of "The Making of a Wimbledon Champion” in Stuttgart as German juniors are put through their paces in a series of events and trials.


2015 Grass Court Season 15-21 June (week 2)  

Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, London (ATP 500

Lowdown:  Following a highly impressive clay campaign Andy Murray, who won his first professional match at Queen’s club, will be hunting a fourth Aegon Championships title when his grass court season gets underway on June 15th in west London. 

The British No.1 is joined by an elite cast with eight of the world’s top 13 players on show. Rafael Nadal returns (champion in 2008) to the stunning line-up with Grand Slam champions Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka, the recent Roland Garros winner, in the draw.

Canadian Milos Raonic will be making his debut at the event whilst showman Nick Kyrgios is also making his bow. Meanwhile Brits James Ward and Kyle Edmund enter as wildcards.

2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt will aim to roll back the years in his final appearance and even the qualifying event is brimming with talent as emerging talents Thanasi Kokkinakis, Hyeon Chung and Andrey Rublev have all been confirmed.

Who:  Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Feliciano Lopez, Giles Simon, Nick Kyrgios, John Isner, Sam Querrey, Richard Gasquet.

Defending champion:  Grigor Dimitrov

Did you know?  Andy Murray is looking to join some illustrious names atop the tournament leader board with John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick each having won at The Queen’s Club four times.


Gerry Weber Open, Halle (ATP 500)

Lowdown: The centre court at Halle is a fitting arena for a Wimbledon warm-up event with a 12,300 capacity arena and a retractable roof on top.

Nine-time finalist Roger Federer leads the field in Halle where he will hope to win an unprecedented eighth title.

Four of his seven triumphs have seen the 17-time Grand Slam champion go on to win at Wimbledon, so Halle is a happy hunting ground.

Two other former champions are in the draw hoping to take the title. 2007 champion Tomas Berdych is alongside two-time winner Tommy Haas in Halle.

Top names also attending include Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga whilst there is plenty of representation from the hosts Germany.

Who: Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, Tommy Robredo.

Reigning champion: Roger Federer

Did you know? There have been five German winners in Halle since the inaugural event in 1993: Michael Stich (1994), Nicolas Kiefer (1999), David Prinosil (2000), Tommy Haas (2009 & 2012) and Philipp Kohlschreiber (2011).


Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham (WTA Premier)

Lowdown: 10 of the world’s top 20 players will descend to the Edgbaston Priory Club to fine tune their grass game.

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic is joined by 2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard, whilst former Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova will be present.

French Open finalist Lucie Safarova has opted to play and World No.2 Simona Halep will feature alongside 2011 champion Sabine Lisicki.

Who: Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard, Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic, Angelique Kerber, Lucie Safarova, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson.

Reigning champion:  Ana Ivanovic

Did you know? It is believed that the modern origins of lawn tennis started in Edgbaston as early as 1859.


2015 Grass Court Season 22-28 June (week 3)

Aegon International at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne (WTA Premier)

Lowdown: The crowd in Eastbourne will be treated to a stella line-up for the final WTA event before heading to SW19.

Six of the world’s top 10 finish their grass-court preparations with 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova leading the way.

Five former champions take to the courts at Devonshire Park with Caroline Wozniacki, Madison Keys, Ekaterina Makarova, Agnieszka Radwańska and Svetlana Kuznetsova are looking to get their hands back on the trophy.

Who: Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard, Ekaterina Makarova, Carla Suarez-Navarro, Agnieska Radwanska, Lucie Safarova, Sara Errani, Madison Keys, Timea Bacsinszky, Heather Watson.

Defending champion: Madison Keys

Did you know? Wimbledon legend Martina Navratilova used Eastbourne as he warm-up event having captured the tournament an astonishing 11 times, the second-highest times any players has won a WTA event. You guessed it; Navratilova holds that record with her 12 titles in Chicago.


Aegon 250 at Nottingham Tennis Centre (ATP 250)

Lowdown: Formerly held in Eastbourne, the event returns to Nottingham for the first time since 2008.

Down at Eastbourne Feliciano Lopez won consecutive titles and will hope to retain his title against a highly-ranked roster.

British hopes will be pinned on the trio of James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Aljaz Bedene.

Who:  David Ferrer, Giles Simon, Feliciano Lopez, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, Juan Monaco, Vasek Pospisil.

Defending champion: Feliciano Lopez (in Eastbourne)

Did you know? The last time Nottingham hosted the event, giant Croatian Ivo karlovic won the title by defeating Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(8).


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