Excitement may be building at SW19, but it’s also bubbling in W14 where the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Queen’s Club is pulling in the big box-office names.
Once famously sponsored by a brewery and now by a tonic water producer, the event from 18-24 June is seen as an important form guide to the world’s most established tennis competition.
Down the years it has produced winners including Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and John McEnroe.
Murray and Nadal are back this year, alongside world Number 6 Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov.
Before those players arrive, qualification rounds for the tournament take place on Saturday 16 June and Sunday 17 June and are open to the public.
The qualifying matches will feature talented players from outside the top 50 in the ATP world rankings, battling it out in some exciting matches to earn the right to play the higher ranked players that qualify automatically.
There is no need to book tickets in advance, simply turn up on the day and you can get in.
However, entry to the ground is limited to a maximum of 500 people each day, so you’ll need to get there early to maximise your chance of a seat.
Eight matches are planned for Saturday, with four matches scheduled for the Sunday, subject to change at the tournament’s discretion.
During qualifying, preparations will still be taking place for the main tournament (starting Monday 18 June), so not all facilities in the grounds will be open.
Del Potro returns
“I’m very much looking forward to returning to the grass to play at The Queen’s Club,” said Del Potro. “2018 has been a very good start for me and I would love to continue playing my best tennis on grass. It is always a very strong player field.”
Tournament director Stephen Farrow said: “The return of Juan Martin to the world’s Top 10 is one of the best stories in tennis. Everybody loves him – from his powerful, devastating game to the sporting way he carries himself and interacts with the crowd.”
With the tournament’s Centre Court capacity increasing by more than 30 per cent last year, even more spectators can enjoy the sport, which is being covered by BBC television.
The 45-court Queen’s Club in Palliser Road, West Kensington, is not only a major sporting occasions, it’s also economically important for west London, attracting crowds from the neighbouring streets (benefiting from local ticket deals) across the UK and abroad, and providing a welcome boost to restaurants and hotels.
Officials and staff will be watching the weather closely, hoping there won’t be a repeat of 2003, when Centre Court temperatures soared to 41C on finals day, or 106 Farenheit.
The tournament is also a great chance for young stars of the future to establish themselves. In 1985 a young unknown called Boris Becker won Queen’s before going on to win Wimbledon.
If you haven’t got a ticket, arrive early and pay for ground admission. Tickets go on sale at 10.30am each morning, allowing you to watch the action on the outer courts. A handful of show-court tickets are also held back for daily sale.
Eligible local residents get to visit the tournament, with a guest, on multiple days between 18 and 22 June from 4.30pm. Leaflets to qualifying homes will be pushed through letterboxes nearer the time.
Refunds apply (with certain terms and conditions) if play is rained off.
For all other ticket inquiries, visit the See Tickets website.
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