By Niall Clarke
- Murray & Ward lead the main draw for the Brits
- British No. 3 Kyle Edmund withdraws with abdominal injury
Andy Murray and James Ward will look for the perfect momentum builder when the ATP world tour visits Queens next week.
Murray comes in to the newly upgraded ATP 500 as the top seed and the odds on favourite to take home the title.
The world number three is a previous three time winner at this event, taking home the title in 2013, 2011 and 2009. If the trend is to continue, Murray might be due a fourth Queens’s triumph. After all he wins it every two years right?
Despite suffering from illness over the past week, the British number one is now fully fit and ready to kick off his grass court season.
“I was actually sick for about a week, so I needed to recover from that,” The 28 year old said (Source: BBC SPORT). “I actually felt OK the first few days, but the day I played David Ferrer, I didn’t feel great.
“When I got on court and started running around it was fine, but when I got back my left eyelid closed up. I had a bad cough for a couple of days after that as well. I don’t know if I was just run down or tired or whatever, but it had obviously been a long few weeks. I feel fine now.”
The top seed will kick off his campaign against a qualifier before moving on to face a Spaniard in the form of either Roberto Bautista-Agut or Fernando Verdasco. The latter can prove very tricky on this surface, as evident by his quarter final run at Wimbledon in 2013. On that day it was Murray who stopped Verdasco, coming from two sets down to claim a five set win.
Grigor Dimitrov is Murray’s projected quarter final opponent, which will no doubt be a tricky match for the Brit if it comes to fruition. Dimitrov is not only the defending champion, he is also the man that ended Murray’s Wimbledon defence last year, in straight sets no less.
The semi-final could also provide a stern test for Murray with the likes of former champion Marin Cilic, 2014 runner up Feliciano Lopez and big serving John Isner in that second quarter.
Speaking of big serves, that is exactly what James Ward will face in the opening round with third seeded Milos Raonic being the Brit’s opponent. Raonic made the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year, and his huge serve will be an even bigger weapon on the quick grass courts.
The Canadian recently had to skip the French Open due to a foot injury, and is making his return to action next week. If Ward can take advantage of a potentially injured or slightly rusty Raonic, he will likely face Richard Gasquet in round two which will also be a huge test for the British number four.
Other notable players in this quarter are seventh seeded Gilles Simon, big hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, David Goffin and Australian youngster Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The British involvement might not end with Murray and Ward. Brydan Klein will be hoping to qualify for the main draw when he faces Paul-Henri Mathieu on Sunday. The 25 year old defeated Steve Darcis in the opening round of qualification on Saturday in three sets.
Outside of the Brits there are plenty of big names and exciting matches to watch over the next week.
Fresh off his French Open victory last weekend, second seeded Stan Wawrinka will kick off his grass season against Nick Kyrgios in the pick of the round one matches.
The winner could potential face Rafael Nadal, who unbelievably is the fifth seed in an ATP 500 event. The 14 time grand slam champion will kick off his tournament against Alexandr Dolgopolov.
The Queen’s main draw begins on Monday 15 June.