By Niall Clarke
- Kyle Edmund, James Ward, and Aljaz Bedene all in action in Nottingham
- The trio finalise preparations for Wimbledon
A trio of British players will finalise their Wimbledon preparations next week as Kyle Edmund, James Ward, and Aljaz Bedene take to the courts of Nottingham.
Ward and Edmund received wildcards in to the tournament main draw, whilst Bedene is in as an alternate due to the many withdrawals.
Edmund, 20, is making his return to action as a stomach injury has kept him out of action since the French Open first round win over Stephan Robert.
The British number three would have felt his stomach curl when he saw the original draw. Gilles Muller- who pushed Andy Murray at Queens Club last week, was set to be Edmund’s first round opponent, but the Luxembourgian pulled out prior to the tournament.
Instead the Yorkshireman will face Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, which in itself is a test for the Brit. Jaziri is ranked 20 places higher than Edmund at 82 in the world, and has made the second round of Wimbledon before as a qualifier.
Edmund will have the home crowd advantage, but with this being his first match on grass this season, it is uncertain we will see the best of the 20 year old.
It will not get easier in round two if Edmund is to beat Jaziri, as highly touted Austrian Dominic Thiem will await the winner.
Ward won a set, but failed to beat Milos Raonic at Queens Club earlier this week. The British number four will hoping for more success in Nottingham.
The 28 year old faces Tim Smyczek of the USA in round one, a player who pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets at the Australian Open this year.
Ward will fancy his chances at a deep run here. The Londoner always plays well on British soil, and the draw to round three is quite kind. Jiri Vesely in round two is very winnable on grass, although Leonardo Mayer in round three might end up being a bridge too far.
We may also see the return of the dotted shirt of Ward, which rivals Stan Wawrinka’s shorts for the most outlandish attire seen this year.
Bedene will open his tournament against Diego Schwartzman. The British number two played an exhibition tournament at in Liverpool this week, in which he was crowned champion after beating Pablo Andujar in a super tiebreak.
His first round opponent has shown a fair bit of promise, but the Argentinian’s best surface is clay. Bedene will see that as a winnable match, and could make the second round.
Eighth seeded Adrian Mannarino will await the winner of that clash, which could be Bedene if he gets past Schwartzman.
On the outlook it could be a decent week for the trio of British players who will conclude their Wimbledon preparations in Nottingham next week.
All three have winnable first round matches, and look for James Ward to make a deep run, which will no doubt please the home crowd.
You can follow their progress throughout the week on Britwatchsports.com