Dirty, sweaty, grunting. That’s clay court tennis. Long rallies, thick red clay flying up to stick to colourful clothes and sweat drenched foreheads. The dirt battles culminate at the raucous French Open in Roland Garros, Paris. Then everything changes.
Each tennis season is the same deal. Hard courts in Australia kick things off before European clay court battles take centre stage. As June arrives so do the grass courts and British tennis gets exciting. The day after the French Open the tennis world turn their attention to London and Birmingham.
Pristine white clothes, freshly cut excruciatingly manicured grass, Pimm’s, sunshine, rain, and strawberries and cream. As the grass court season begins, tennis time across Great Britain is upon us.
The world’s top men move to London, their home for the next month, basing themselves in Kensington for the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, right by Baron’s Court tube station. The tournament, an ATP 250, is the first time the top men will have hit on grass in 11 months and is a different experience to the clay they’ve been used to.
The balls skid off the surface making the rallies quicker and shorter. Serves dominate and unpredictable bounces pop up keeping players on their toes. Movement can be difficult as a hint of moisture makes the surface slippery and the men are very quickly separated from the boys.
For British fans, Andy Murray—currently the world No.2—carries their hopes and dreams. The Scot has twice won the Aegon Championships on London’s grass courts, along with Olympic gold at Wimbledon to add to his Grand Slam title in New York. But the one he wants, and the British public wants, more than anything is of course the men’s singles title at The Championships, Wimbledon. This year? Maybe, just maybe.
Why not watch the action at The Queen’s Club and then Wimbledon two weeks later by staying at one of Travelodge’s London hotels conveniently located close by. Drama guaranteed.
While the men find their grass court feet in London, the world’s best women enjoy Birmingham. The Aegon Classic, a WTA International tournament, takes place at the luxurious Edgbaston Priory Club from June 10-16 and is one of the premier events on the local calendar.
Maria Sharapova is a previous winner of the event but this year fans’ eyes will be on upcoming British starlets Laura Robson and Heather Watson. The two glittering young women have enjoyed an impressive last 12 months, rocketing up the rankings and reaching their first WTA singles finals. Both will be strong favourites to do well in front of their home crowd.
Ticket-holders can stay in the heartbeat of the lively city, in Birmingham’s Travelodge, just a short drive away from the tournament. Why not treat yourself and attend on Ladies’ Day on the 13th June when the champagne will be flowing?
Sandwiched neatly in between the Aegon Classic & the Aegon Championships, and Wimbledon, is the Aegon International, at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne. The tournament hosts both men and women as the players take their last chance to get used to the grass before the big one.
On June 24th The Championships, Wimbledon, will begin. Union Jacks will be flying and fingers will be crossed as Murray, Robson and Watson take to the finest courts in the world to try and bring tennis home for Great Britain. Be there, you wouldn’t want to miss it.
Adam Moulder works for the Lawn Tennis Association’s Marketing team and has worked on a number of world class tennis events including Wimbledon, the LTA Summer Events and Davis and Fed Cup ties around the world.