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Andy’s out – but there’s no better place to play tennis than H&F

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Image captionImage 1: Andy Murray reacts during his cinch Championships match against Matteo Berrettini at The Queen's Club. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Although Friday was badly affected by rain, organisers of the annual Queen’s Club tournament were confident of play on Saturday and Sunday at the big pre-Wimbledon grasscourt tennis event. 

Five times Queen’s champion Andy Murray returned to winning ways on Tuesday with victory over Benoit Paire in two sets to reach the second round – his first singles match on grass for three years.

But he couldn’t overcome Italian Matteo Berrettini, with a straight-set defeat on Thursday. “I didn’t play well today, but I can improve on that to get my sharpness and decision-making up,” he said.

If you’re picking up a racket again, and fancy playing some competitive local tennis, look no further than the Hammersmith & Fulham tennis league.

All standards are welcome in a friendly league which is backed by the Lawn Tennis Association.

In the current singles round (which runs until 4 August and includes a free can of tennis balls for every competitor who completes three matches), Archie Comyns, Octave Chanfray, Marco Luisetto and Alexander Free are doing well in a tournament of mixed men and women.

You have to be over 18 and you’ll be placed in a group of similar standard, with the main venues including Eel Brook Common, Ravenscourt Park, Brook Green, Hurlingham Park, Bishops Park and South Park. The fee is £18 per round.

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Image caption: Image 2: Pictured is Frances Tiafoe playing at the cinch Championships. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Queen’s Club update

There was better news for current British No1 Dan Evans, who reached the quarter-finals with victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino, having beaten Australian Alexei Popyrin in the first round.

Meanwhile, an all-English tie between Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie is awaited – when the rain lets up and the covers come off – as well as the wheelchair quarter-finals involving Brits Dermot Bailey, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.

Although last year’s Queen’s Club Championships were cancelled because of the pandemic, socially distanced crowds are back enjoying the action again in West Kensington, and roared on Murray in his first-round match... even though the spectator capacity is just a quarter of its usual size.

“I’m always sort of telling myself, and maybe it’s not the best mindset, but each match could be my last one that I play now,” said the 34-year-old Murrary.

“The tournament at Queen’s has always meant a lot to me - it’s where I won my first ATP match, and I want to make the most of every match that I play, and each tournament that I get the chance to compete in.”

It’s a huge relief for the organisers of the Cinch Championships to be back. Down the years the tournament at Queen’s has produced winners including Rafa Nadal and John McEnroe.

Others taking part at the 45-court club in Palliser Road, W14, include Marin Cilic (who won the title in 2012 and 2018), Denis Shapovalov, Cam Norrie and Jack Draper.

The tournament, being covered by BBC television, is a great chance for young stars to gain a name for themselves. In 1985 an unknown called Boris Becker won Queen’s before going on to win Wimbledon.

Visit the LTA website for times, tickets or more details.

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Image caption: Image 3: Dan Evans pictured playing at Queen's. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

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