We’re in full grass mode now, and there’s plenty of action around the globe in the lead up to Wimbledon.
Halle 500, Germany:
One of the best tennis stadiums in the world, with one of the most annoying shadows creeping over the court during play. Nonetheless, Halle is a famous tournament that Roger Federer made his own, winning it ten times! Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt won it back in 2010, and this time round, it’s Nick Kyrgios who flies the flag. He looked pretty rusty last week, and a first round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, won’t be an easy assignment. Four top ten players will join Nick, including Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Andrey Rublev.
London 500, Great Britain:
Queens Club is the historic setting for the traditional lead up to Wimbledon, and the champions board is a who’s who of tennis. From an Aussie perspective, Lleyton Hewitt was successful here on four occasions. Alex de Minaur, and Jordan Thompson get in directly. Alex takes on Andy Murray, while Jordan will aim to beat Milos Raonic for the second time in two weeks. Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, and Taylor Fritz will also be hoping to join the list of winners here.
Berlin 500, Germany:
As is always the case with the WTA 500 events, we have a stacked field. Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina take the top two seeded positions. But with players such as Ons Jabeur, Cocco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, and Caroline Garcia in the draw, it’s another wide open event. From an Australian perspective, Jaimee Fourlis made it through qualifying, which was a great effort. She takes on China’s Xinyu Wang in round 1.
Birmingham 250, Great Britain:
No Aussies in the singles draw here, but a nice field, including Barbora Krejcikova, Jelena Ostapenko, Elina Svitolina, and Venus Williams, who, at 42, will take on Italian Camila Giorgi in the first round. Aussie Daria Saville just fell short of qualifying in her comeback tournament following a horrible knee injury, but the signs are good for her, that she can have a strong back end of the year.
Gaiba 125, Italy:
A 125 event sneaks on to the calendar this week, and it’s not a bad looking field at all. For the Aussies, Priscilla Hon will take on Belgian Yanina Wickmayer in round one. Also in the draw this week, are Tatjana Maria, who is ranked 66, Sara Errani, at 69, as well as American duo, Taylor Townsend, and Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin.
ATP Challenger Tour:
Ilkley 125, Great Britain:
One of the most beautiful settings on the Challenger tour, Ilkley Will host the final grass court event on the tour, and also a few Aussies this week, in Jason Kubler, Rinky Hijikata, and Alex Bolt. Rinky is coming off his first ever ATP semi final appearance, so will be full of confidence, while Alex fought through qualifying to take his place in the main draw. Portugal’s Nuno Borges will be this week’s top seed, ranked 73.
Montechiarugalo 125, Italy:
Borna Coric took out the inaugural event last year, but he won’t be back to defend his title. Plenty of ‘clay court specialists’ here, avoiding the grass, including top seeds, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and Thiago Monteiro. Aussie, Akira Santillan is into the final round of qualifying at the time of writing this preview, so hopefully he can get through to the main draw.
Poznan 100, Poland:
Always a really big event on the Challenger calendar, it feels a shame that it’s held in the middle of grass season. Russian, Alexander Shevchenko, who is currently inside the top 100, and having a great year, will be the top seed. Federico Coria is his biggest threat on paper, while Björn Borg’s son Leo, takes another WC entry.
Blois 75, France:
Another clay court event, this time in France. It’s the Frenchman, Quentin Halys who is the clear number one seed, as the only player inside the top 100 here this week. He doesn’t tend to play a lot on the grass, so will try to build some more points on the red dirt instead.
Cali 75, Colombia:
The only event on the right hand side of the Atlantic this week, and there is one Aussie in action. Tristan Schoolkate. The 22 year old has struggled to get out of qualifying on the Challenger tour, so it’s great to see him as a direct entry. Not the strongest field of the week, so it’s be nice to see him win a match or two. Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo, ranked 148, is the highest ranked player in Cali this week.
W100 Ilkley, Great Britain:
The women are lining up with the men in Ilkley, which will make for an exciting week. For the Australians, Olivia Gadecki is into the main draw directly, while at the time of writing, Maddison Inglis and Alexandra Osborne are still alive in the final round of qualifying.
American, Emma Navarro will be the top seed here this week, ranked 68. She’s had some solid results on the ITF tour this year, but hasn’t quite translated onto the main WTA tour, so no doubt Emma will be hoping for a few wins at Wimbledon next month.
As always, there are lots of other Aussies playing at ITF 25K, 15K level and Junior level. Follow us on Twitter all through the week for the latest daily scores.