Why grass court warm-ups aren’t a necessity
Originally published on: 08/06/12 00:00
Roger Federer has done it in the past and Novak Djokovic hopes to do it for the second year in succession. Conventional wisdom might suggest that you need to play at least one grass-court tournament in the build-up to Wimbledon, but the greatest player of all time and the world No.1 have both proved that it is possible to win at the All England Club without playing a competitive match on the surface in the preceding weeks.
Djokovic is one of three top 10 players who will not be playing in a grass-court tournament next week. Mardy Fish has had health issues of late, while David Ferrer has often gone into Wimbledon without any competitive matches under his belt.
Of the other players, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and Juan Martin del Potro have entered next week’s Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club in London, while Federer, Rafa Nadal and Tomas Berdych will play in the Gerry Weber Open at Halle in Germany. However, none of the top 10 are currently entered to play in tour events the following week.
Murray will play at Queen’s despite some recent problems with his back, but the world No.4 said it would not be a disaster to go into Wimbledon without playing a competitive match on grass. “Many times Roger has not played an event before,” Murray said. “It happens all the time. You just need to make sure you're comfortable on the courts and the surface you're playing on before you start the tournament.”
An increasingly popular option for many of the leading men is to play in exhibitions in the week before Grand Slam tournaments. Djokovic played at The Boodles tournament at Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire en route to Wimbledon last year and is playing there again this year. Tipsarevic, Del Potro, John Isner, Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils, Stanislas Wawrinka and Gilles Simon are among those who will be joining him there.