Rafa aims to retain Queen's crown
PUBLISHED: 13:24 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 August 2010
By Ziad Chaudry RAFAEL Nadal will be aiming to emulate tennis greats John McEnroe and Pete Sampras as a two-time Queen s Club and Wimbledon double champion next week. The 23-year-old Spaniard claimed last year s title at the West Kensington club, his firs
By Ziad Chaudry
RAFAEL Nadal will be aiming to emulate tennis greats John McEnroe and Pete Sampras as a two-time Queen's Club and Wimbledon double champion next week.
The 23-year-old Spaniard claimed last year's title at the West Kensington club, his first on grass, after edging out Serbia's Novak Djokovic in two closely contested sets.
He then went on to beat Roger Federer at SW19 in an unforgettable five-set marathon to complete an historic grand slam treble that also included the Australian and Roland Garros, as well as the Beijing Olympic title.
"It is nice to come back to a place where you are the last champion," said Nadal. "The AEGON (previously Artois) Championships and Wimbledon are very traditional tournaments and I love to play these two tournaments.
"At Queen's you feel like you are in a real tennis club, so that is really nice. The atmosphere is always good and the crowd have always been really nice with me."
With Wimbledon just three weeks away, the Queen's tournament has always attracted a high calibre of top-ranked players, and Britain's world number three Andy Murray will be one of those vying for the Spaniard's crown from Saturday and throughout next week.
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and former US Open champion Andy Roddick will both be looking for an unprecedented fifth title, while top French duo Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin and the towering Croatian Marin Cilic are among the other big names in action.
Depending on his performance at the AEGON Trophy in Nottingham this week, Kilburn's Alex Bogdanovic will have to go through three gruelling rounds of qualifying to reach the main first round draw.
At last year's event the 24-year-old, who is currently ranked 196 in the world, crashed out in the opening round to Aussie opponent Joe Sirianni.
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