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London Tennis From Queens Club • Ricky’s Musings • As Tsitsipas Says, It’s The Best!

By Ricky Dimon


This isn’t my first visit to the Queen’s Club. I saw it for the first time last fall, enjoying breakfast at the prestigious club that has been around since 1886 (!!!!!!!) while also watching the fascinating sport of real tennis.


But this is my first trip to the Fever-Tree Championships (previously the Stella Artois). And to say that the first did not disappoint would be a gross understatement.


I stopped by the practice courts first, and that was good decision because it is there where you can take in the grass. Yes, the grass. I know we’re here to talk about tennis, but the surface at Queen’s Club may be just as interesting as the sport that is played on it. It’s greener than green, smoother than smooth, and more perfect than perfect–if that’s possible. It’s what the Masters is to golf. And it’s especially flawless right now since the event is in its very early stages and there are little to no signs of wear and tear. Players haven’t quite trampled it yet.


One of those players is top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is playing this tournament for the first time and will contest his opening match against Great Britain’s own Kyle Edmund on Tuesday.


“Tradition,” Tsitsipas said when asked about what excites him most about Queen’s Club. “It looks very clean; very well-taken care of. I think that’s what makes it so special and so nice to be here–playing on the beautiful grass. It’s not bumpy at all. It’s the best grass you’ll ever find!”


I was also surprised to find how big Centre Court is. The only 500-point I had ever previously attended was Memphis (before it was downgraded to a 250 and then was done away with altogether). The stadium there wasn’t huge, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect (sure I’ve watched Queen’s Club on TV plenty of times, but you can’t get a real feel for anything on TV…which is the whole point of being here, of course!).


Anyway, it is BIG. In fact, Monday set an attendance record for the tournament an more than 9,000 spectators made their way into Centre Court. They were a boisterous bunch, too, in part because two Brits were in action and both played thrilling three-setters (Cameron Norrie lost to Kevin Anderson and James Ward succumbed to Gilles Simon).


Centre Court is great, but a cheap grounds pass would also do wonders for you. That gives you access to matches on Court 1 (plus one on Court 6 on Tuesday) and all of the practice courts. And like they are at most smaller tournaments, the practice courts are GREAT: easily accessible, not too crowded with other fans, and big-name players constantly putting in work throughout the day. Among those I saw today were Juan Martin Del Potro, Stan Wawrinka, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Feliciano Lopez, Ivo Karlovic, and the Bryan brothers.


This place has it all…. Granted I haven’t seen all of it because I spent more than a small part of my trying–mostly without success–to navigate all the hallways and doors through the club. Oh well, that just means there will be more hidden gems to find tomorrow!


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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