Grass Court Tennis Tournaments
Halfway through the year, tennis fans start turning their attention towards London. Wimbledon and the Queen’s Club Championships along with the ATP Halle Open take center stage in grass-court season. While the season only lasts a few short weeks, it excites countless fans and participants.
Characteristics of grass-court tennis
Argentinian ex-tennis player Guillermo Vilas once said, “Grass is for cows.” Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t a fan of grass courts! But there are many who would disagree with him.
Perhaps to the same extent of clay courts, grass courts have a special aesthetic effect. Green grass– which is so characteristic of other sports such as soccer, rugby or field hockey– looks great on tennis, too.
But from a sports point of view, this special court offers less resistance to the bounce of the ball. As a result, the hits are faster and lower. In turn, rallies are shorter and offensive strategies dominate.
Famous grass-court players
This special type of court demands a lot from tennis players. Aside from creating a faster game, the court forces players to play closer to the ground in order to receive the ball. This is because the ball hardly rises after making an impact on the ground.
According to the Association of Tennis Professional experts, the best players on grass courts are Roger Federer— who’s won the most in history on these courts–, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. Additionally, Marin Cilic, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, and Feliciano López are also honorable mentions.
Wimbledon: green face-offs at the Cathedral
Wimbledon is already known as the most important grass court tennis event of the year. Players gather to play at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The Club boasts an impressive 19 tennis courts, all of which have an 8-millimeter grass surface.
Furthermore, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. In 2019, it celebrated its 142nd anniversary. The actual number of tournaments to date, however, is 133 as the tournament was suspended during the Second World War.
The first edition took place in 1877 in London. Since 1895, British royalty have made it a tradition to attend important matches. One of the most exciting things to see is the iconic dress code for the players. The all-white obligation for both men and women players started in 1963.
On another note, Wimbledon is the only tournament that respects middle Sunday; thus, no match takes place during the first Sunday of every edition.
The middle Sunday is a rest day for everyone, lawn included, before the week of competition. In history, matches only took place on middle Sunday on four occasions in order to recuperate matches that were suspended because of the rain.
ATP Queen’s Club Championship
The Queen’s Club Championship started in 1969 and boasts, according to many tennis players, the best grass courts in the world.
The tournament is the official prelude to Wimbledon. Thus, many tennis players take advantage of the opportunity to become familiar with the London-style courts beforehand.
Having won five times, British player, Andy Murray holds the most titles in this championship. But tennis stars such as John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick, and Lleyton Hewitt only need one more title to catch up.
ATP Halle Open
This tournament takes place in Halle, Germany in the Gerry Weber Stadium. Just like the Queen’s Club Championship, the Halle Open is part of the ATP World Tour 500. Many tennis experts actually say that the Tour only needs one more tournament in order to reach a Masters-1000 status.
Since 1993, Halle Open– or Noventi Open– gathers the best tennis players of the moment in another prelude to Wimbledon. The venue has a capacity for 12,000 people and includes a roof, which allows matches to take place even on rainy days. Roger Federer and his ten titles boast the honor of having won the Halle Open the most amount of times.
In addition to the three main grass-court tournaments above, there are also others from the ATP World Tour 250 that are worth mentioning. For example the Nottingham Open and Eastbourne International. Both tournaments take place in the United Kingdom.
Wrapping up, the grass season may only last for three short weeks but the tennis world savors every moment. At the end of the day, the green court reminds us of the oldest traditions of this incredible sport. The grass is definitely not just for cows!It might interest you...