Open court

As Mur­ray and Djokovic strug­gle, the men’s Wim­ble­don ti­tle is there for the tak­ing.

The National - News - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - gcay­gill@then­ More ten­nis, s5

≤ Andy Mur­ray

The world No 1 has pre­vailed twice at Wim­ble­don and on both oc­ca­sions, last year and in 2013, he went into the third grand slam tour­na­ment of the sea­son with the con­fi­dence of a Queen’s ti­tle be­hind him. In 2016 he came from be­hind to beat Cana­dian Mi­los Raonic in the fi­nal, and that would prove fit­ting as it would be Raonic he would beat in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal three weeks later. In 2013, it was Marin Cilic he would beat at Queen’s, and he went on to beat Novak Djokovic in the fi­nal at Wim­ble­don. How­ever, win­ning Queen’s is no guar­an­tee of suc­cess, as Mur­ray also won it in 2009, 2011 and 2015, and did not pre­vail in any of those years.

Rafael Nadal

The Spa­niard had been knock­ing on the door of Wim­ble­don suc­cess as he had been beaten fi­nal­ist in both the 2006 and 2007 fi­nals at Wim­ble­don. But a suc­cess­ful week at Queen’s in 2008 where he got past grass-court spe­cial­ists such as Ivo Karlovic and Andy Rod­dick, be­fore beat­ing Djokovic in the fi­nal in straight sets, set him up to be third time lucky at Wim­ble­don as he fi­nally got the bet­ter of Roger Fed­erer in the fi­nal, win­ning a clas­sic fi­nal 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 to claim the first of the two ti­tles he has won at SW19, the sec­ond com­ing in 2010.

Lley­ton He­witt

The Aus­tralian was the dom­i­nant player in the game in the sum­mer of 2002 in the spell that ran be­tween the de­cline of Pete Sam­pras and the rise of Fed­erer. He­witt had al­ready proven to be a force at Queen’s, hav­ing won the 2000 and 2001 com­pe­ti­tions, and he com­pleted his hat-trick in 2002. Af­ter hav­ing got to the fi­nal with­out drop­ping a set, he re­cov­ered from los­ing the first set to Tim Hen­man to tri­umph 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. He­witt then took that form to Wim­ble­don where he would win what would prove to be his sec­ond – and last – ma­jor, los­ing only two sets all tour­na­ment as he de­feated David Nal­ban­dian in the fi­nal.

Pete Sam­pras

The Amer­i­can’s record on grass re­ally needs no in­tro­duc­tion as his seven Wim­ble­don ti­tles in eight years be­tween 1993 and 2000 made him the most suc­cess­ful player in the his­tory of the open era of ten­nis un­til Fed­erer equalled that tally in 2012, though the Swiss’s haul took 10 years to as­sem­ble. While not al­ways a fre­quent com­peti­tor at Queen’s, he tri­umphed twice there in 1995, de­feat­ing Guy For­get 7-6, 7-6, and then in 1999 when he got the bet­ter of Hen­man 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. Both times he went on to be the vic­tor at Wim­ble­don.

Boris Becker

The Ger­man will be a fea­ture at Wim­ble­don this year as a me­dia pun­dit, but 32 years ago he pro­duced one of the big­gest shocks in the his­tory of the sport when as an un­her­alded player he be­came, at the time, the youngest ever grand slam winner at the age of 17 years and 227 days. But, those pay­ing at­ten­tion would not have been sur­prised by the devel­op­ment as the pre­vi­ous month in June 1985 he was the winner at Queen’s. Seeded 11th, he de­feated Amer­i­can Jo­han Kriek 6-2, 6-3 in the fi­nal to un­der­line his po­ten­tial on grass.

Mark Green­wood / Rex Im­ages

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