Murray, Wawrinka, Nadal Line-Up For Aegon Champs | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Murray, Wawrinka, Nadal Line-Up For Aegon Champs

Posted: Jun 16, 2015 at 12:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray head a beefed-up field for the Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club that started on Monday, always the reliable indicator that the big fortnight is around the corner.

The only doubtful starter is Wawrinka’s famous patterned shorts, which he is unsure about wearing as Wimbledon’s austere clothing rules will forbid their use two weeks from Monday.

An impressive nine of the world’s top fifteen will be at Queen’s, whose stronger line-up this year owes itself to the three-week gap opened up between Roland Garros and SW19 and its elevation to ‘500’ status on the ATP Tour.

That means double the ranking points, a smaller 32-strong field and more than double the overall prize money to £1.2 million, which in the case of the winner will see him take home £280,000.

Nobody will be sniffing at that, but for the main players the primary object is to get themselves in the best possible match shape to contest the season’s third Grand Slam.

And this time there can be no excuses from any of the top men or women for not being fully prepared for SW19, whereas in previous years they could have pointed to the way the grass court season was somewhat shoehorned into a congested calendar.

Off the back of his Mercedes Cup victory in Stuttgart, Rafael Nadal is also taking part at Queen’s

Nadal appears to be an early beneficiary after his fall from grace at Roland Garros. Last night he was flying into London after impressively bouncing back from his quarter final exit in Paris by winning the inaugural grass court event in Stuttgart, beating Viktor Troicki 7-6 6-3 in the final.

For all his struggles of the past year, the 29 year-old Spaniard remains a two-time winner at Wimbledon, and another run this week would dramatically reboot his confidence.

Top seed Murray took three days off after making the Paris semi-final and felt unwell, but has been practising under the eye of his assistant coach Jonas Bjorkman, although Amelie Mauresmo currently plans to return to his side for Wimbledon, deep into her pregnancy.

He discovered his first round opponent on Sunday, qualifier Yen Hsun Lu of Taiwan, the world No 62. Lu knocked Murray out of the 2008 Olympics but was one of his victims en route to winning the Wimbledon title in 2013.

Murray took part in a practice session with coach Jonas Bjorkman as he prepares for the grass season.