Big guns need bottle to win Artois swansong
PUBLISHED: 13:17 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 24 August 2010
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By Ziad Chaudry WILL it be a high five for Andy Roddick or Lleyton Hewitt? Both players are looking for a record fifth Artois Championship at Queen s Club this week. With Artois ending their sponsorship after 30 years, this is an opportunity for Roddick a
By Ziad Chaudry
WILL it be a high five for Andy Roddick or Lleyton Hewitt? Both players are looking for a record fifth Artois Championship at Queen's Club this week.
With Artois ending their sponsorship after 30 years, this is an opportunity for Roddick and Hewitt, who have dominated the tournament since 2000, to give them a good send-off from the elegant West Kensington venue.
Fast-serving American Roscoe Tanner was the first winner of the pre-Wimbledon event and the roll of honour includes greats such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras.
At last year's event, Roddick was given a run for his money by Kilburn's own Alex Bogdanovic before retaining his title, beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in a final that went right down to the wire, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.
Five of the world's top 10 players, including two current grand slam champions in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, are appearing at Queen's this week.
Nadal, the French Open champion and world number two, may be a complete genius on the slow-moving red clay but, despite reaching the quarter-finals in the last two years, he is yet to gain total mastery over the traditional grass court surface.
Another clay court specialist who seems to do well on grass and will be looking to make a big impression on his first Queen's appearance is 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian.
And last year's Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet makes a welcome return to West Kensington after a three-year absence.
So far it's been a fantastic 2008 for Djokovic. The 21-year-old clinched the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, also adding further titles in Rome and Indian Wells.
Bogdanovic's fellow Brits Andy Murray, who missed last year's event due to an ankle injury, and Josh Goodall make up the 56-man field.
Entry is free for the weekend qualifying rounds and tickets are then available from £14 through to £77 for Sunday's final. Call 0871 231 0829.
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