Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Look ahead at the Queen's Club & Wimbledon

It's a highly unusual grass season that we have on our hands this year. With Wimbledon not only hosting the 126th edition of The Championships but then also, a month later, the tennis competition that will be part of the London Olympics 2012. But whereas playing two events at Wimbledon will be something entirely new for all those players who get to take part in the Olympics, it looks like David's schedule on grass this year might also be unusual for another reason. And that's the absence of his name on the player list for The Boodles Challenge, the exhibition event that has for many long years been David's standard way of spending the week before Wimbledon. Whether this time he really won't be paying a visit to Stoke Park, that remains to be seen.
In any case, here's a look at the two tournaments on grass that David is going to play (the Olympics will get their own preview, of course):

AEGON Championships, Queen's Club (June 11-17)

(Getty Images)

For David, this is going to be the third visit to Queen's Club since making his debut in 2008. Back then, he decided to play the tournament for the first time after previously preparing for Wimbledon at Boodles and occasionally also at Halle (where he never made it past the first round). His first appearance at the Queen's Club saw David reaching the semifinal - in the course of which he only got a single game against Novak Djokovic. A terrible match but one that he played while struggling with his hip injury, as became known much later.
Last year, having received a wildcard from the organisers, David made it to the third round, though we weren't able to watch any of it. Unfortunately, all of his matches took place on untelevised courts, including his third-round defeat against Fernando Verdasco and also his surprise appearance in doubles, together with Andy Roddick (who asked David in the locker room to play doubles with him).

David will be seeded, that much is already certain. And it means that he won't meet another seeded player in the first two rounds. Which seeding he'll get depends on whether there'll be further withdrawals and at the moment it looks like this will probably be the case.
Edit: Right now, David would be the 11th seed (Fish, Gasquet and Wawrinka have withdrawn), and no longer bound to meet one of the top four seeds in the third round.

The draw ceremony will take place on Saturday, at 4pm local time.

The Championships, Wimbledon (June 25 - July 8)

(Getty Images)

Ten years ago, a young and pretty much unknown Argentine player, contesting his first ever Championships as a pro, surprised the tennis world (and himself) by reaching the final of Wimbledon... To this day, David's surprise run back in 2002 remains to be one of the biggest and most famous achievements of his career - even if in the final he didn't stand a chance against his 'special friend' Lleyton Hewitt.
Now, a decade later, David returns to SW19 for what will be his altogether eighth appearance at the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the world. However, ever since his spectacular debut David's results at Wimbledon haven't been quite as spectacular, with the quarterfinal he reached in 2005 as the only other time he managed to get to the second week. Since then, it's mostly been exits in the third round for David. Whether the infamous (supposedly) tanked match in 2006, or last year, where despite a good performance he ended up losing to Roger Federer in straights (and suffering another adductor injury in the process). Still, back then David obviously enjoyed getting the chance to play on the most famous of all Centre Courts. Whether he'll get another one this year is going to depend on the draw. And not just that - as David won't enjoy the protection of being seeded, he could face anyone in the first round, from qualifier or wildcard to Djokovic, Nadal or Federer.
So once again, we can only hope that he'll get lucky with the draw.

The draw ceremony will be held on Friday, June 22, at 10am local time.


  1. He really needs to do well.

    I think Monfils, Nishikori and Fish are injured and could withdraw from Wimbledon, and I guess one or two clay court specialists would opt not to play on grass.

    So if he reaches the SF, would he have a chance to grab the #32 seed (even if his ranking moves up to about #36-37)?

  2. Grabbing the #32 seed would mean a meeting with one of the Top4 in R3. Of course it would also mean being safe from facing a seed in the first two rounds. But as we've only just seen at RG, that's no guarantee for anything.