The tournament at Queen’s always generates a buzz of excitement. It marks the beginning in earnest of Wimbledon fever, and there is usually a chance to see some of the biggest names of the sport in action.
The trophy boasts the likes of John McEnroe and Boris Becker as former winners, while Andy Murray’s name appears a record five times. It is Murray who has drawn many of the headlines regarding this year’s iteration of the tournament: his return from injury in the doubles alongside Feliciano Lopez is hotly-anticipated. He is not the only Briton to face a tough and intriguing first-round match, however – in the singles, Kyle Edmund has been drawn against world No 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Greek 20-year-old has shot to prominence recently. His fledgling reputation sees him viewed as primarily a clay specialist, an image reinforced by a victory over renowned clay expert Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open earlier this year. He nonetheless remains the strong favourite against Edmund on grass, and has been handed the top seeding for the tournament.
Tsitsipas underperformed at Roland Garros, however, losing in five sets to Stan Wawrinka at the round of 16 stage. This represented an underwhelming showing given his sixth-placed seeding. The youngster also lost to Chilean Nicolas Jarry at the same stage in his only grass court preparation, crashing out to the world number 60 at the Libema Open after receiving a bye through the round of 32.
Edmund’s hopes of an upset will be further bolstered by the home advantage. He will be able to rely on the support of the Queen’s Club crowd, who will be glad to see him following an injury-enforced withdrawal at the French Open. The player ranked number 30 in the world will duly fancy his chances of producing a shock at the tournament in which he reached the semi-finals of the men’s doubles last year.
The Briton will be looking to shake a reputation for underperforming in the singles at Queen’s, with his best showing coming in a 2016 quarter-final defeat by Andy Murray. Edmund peaked at world No 14 last year, a season in which he also recorded arguably his most impressive victory to date with a win over Novak Djokovic in the Madrid Open. His biggest success on grass has come against compatriot Murray, against whom he triumphed at Eastbourne in 2018.
Tsitsipas, for his part, will be looking to get ready for a Wimbledon tournament at which he has vowed to try and break the stranglehold that the so-called ‘big four’ have exercised on the trophy since 2003.