With the 2021 French Open coming to a close Sunday evening, we are now in the early stages of the 2021 Queen’s Club Championship. This marks the first tournament of the year where we have grass courts; obviously, this is leading up to the historic Wimbledon tournament that will take place in London at the end of this month.
There are not a lot of household names playing in this small tournament because of how close it was to the French Open. But, that does not mean that there aren’t any good players in the draw.
The biggest name in this tournament has finally made his return to tennis. After contemplating retirement after surgery in 2018 and missing the entire 2019-2020 season due to COVID and the birth of his child, the 46-time British Champion has finally returned to grass courts.
Andy Murray‘s 6-3, 6-2 victory over Benoit Paire was a glimpse of the greatness that we usually expect from him. He now advances to the second round to face off against the first seeded Matteo Berrettini, who won his match 7-6(5), 7-6(4) earlier.
One of the youngest and brightest stars in today’s game, Denis Shapovalov had found his way back to the court as well. As the second seed in the tournament, he did not have an easy path like he was expecting to have.
Throughout the match, he was forced to save four set points and, with his back against the wall in each set, was able to take down the Australian Aleksander Vukic 7-6(6), 7-6(6). He now looks forward to the two-time Queen’s Club Championships tournament, Feliciano Lopez in the second round.
Dan Evans is one of the four British players to advance to the second round in this tournament. After recently being eliminated in the Men’s Double bracket, he now has a fresher set of legs to play in the Men’s Singles.
Evans had a great round one match, facing off against the 21-year-old Australian Alexei Popyrin. Dan defeated the Australian in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon. His serve was very lackluster during many swings throughout the match, but using his experience, he was able to push back against Popyrin in each set.
The Winner – Feliciano Lopez
The two-time champion has been incredible in this tournament during his career. Although he is 39 right now, we have seen time and time again in this sport that age is just a number. I mean, really, just look at Roger Federer.
Feliciano Lopez has opened up his grass-court campaign with a great start already, as he has advanced to the round of 16 in both the Men’s Singles and Doubles brackets. He recently just defeated Illya Marchenko in dominating fashion, 6-1, 7-6(8), and was paired up with the Italian Jannik Sinner to take down the British Duo of Dan Evans and Jonny O’Mara 7-6(10), 6-2.
He looks to continue his winning ways against the Canadian Denis Shapovlov and the number one seeded doubles team Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic. It will be a tall task for him to compete on both sides of the bracket in just a little time to rest, but as we had seen before in 2017 and 2019, when he won the tournament, he is up to the challenge.
Personally, I think he is the most experienced and likely to win this tune-up tournament and continue this success as he looks to make a deep run into the grass season.
This grass-court tournament is one of many this month that will ultimately lead up to Wimbledon. Most of these players, if not all of them, are using this to get themselves in a good rhythm for the most prized grand slam in all of tennis.
Akshay is a rising senior at the University of Miami. He is studying Marketing with a minor in Sports Administration. He is joining Knup Solutions with hopes of being able to contribute to the team at a high level, with his great attention to detail and perfectionist personality. He has done recreational freelance work for online gaming and sports previously and is excited to use his skills in the real world.