Federer v Hewitt Highlights Grass Season Kick-off; Previews

by Staff | June 6th, 2011, 12:09 am

The two weeks of grasscourt events leading to Wimbledon kicks off with virtually all of the men’s stars immediately taking to the turf, while the WTA’s leading lights choose to rest or play high-paying exos rather than the two WTA events in Birmingham and Copenhagen (Kaia Kanepi the top seed, and Chanelle Scheepers and Alla Kudryavtseva seeded in Birmingham? World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, the top seed at a hardcourt event that has the field quality of a challenger? Really WTA?).
French Open runner-up Roger Federer and former Wimbledon champ Lleyton Hewitt face off first round at the Queen’s Club, and the week also sees the return of formerly injured stars such as Tommy Haas, Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian.

Let the grasscourt season begin:

AEGON Championships
London, England
Surface: grass

Seeds: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Marin Cilic, David Nalbandian, Michael Llodra, Thomaz Bellucci, Juan Martin Del Potro, Sam Querrey, Janko Tipsarevic, Kevin Anderson, Ivan Ljubicic

Floaters: Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, Ryan Sweeting, (WC) Ryan Harrison, Kei Nishikori, Nicolas Mahut, “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse

Notes: Early-round popcorn matches abound in (3) Roddick vs. F-Lo (2nd rd.), (2) Murray vs. former Wimbledon semifinalist X-Man, (15) Anderson vs. “Dr.” Ivo, (7) Hot Sauce vs. Mahut (2nd rd.), (13) Querrey vs. Nishikori, (5) Tsonga vs. (WC) Harrison (2nd rd.), and (16) Ljubicic vs. Sweeting; Querrey beat Mardy Fish for last year’s title; Nadal as in past years jumps right from the clay to the grass after winning the French; Roddick chomping at the bit after missing the French due to a shoulder injury; seeds Wawrinka and Bellucci make their first Queen’s Club appearances; the Bryan brothers (former champs in 2005-04, ’01) are the top doubles seeds; Nalbandian returns to the tour after surgery; returning singles champs are Querrey (2010), Murray (2009), Nadal (2008), and Roddick (2007, ’05-03).

Gerry Weber Open
Halle, Germany
Surface: grass

Seeds: Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, Gael “Force” Monfils, Mikhail Youzhny, Viktor Troicki, Florian Mayer, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Milos Raonic

Floaters: Lleyton Hewitt, (WC) Tommy Haas, (WC) Dustin “German Ganja” Brown

Notes: Federer steps off the clay onto the grass and a first-round match-up with fellow former Wimbledon champ and No. 1 Hewitt (with the winner to likely to face former world No. 2 Haas in the next round); (6) Mayer a tough opener in front of the home crowd against nouveau-German Brown; the first-round Federer-Hewitt blockbuster is a rematch of last year’s final where Hewitt beat Fed; seeds Monfils, Dolgopolov and Raonic makes their debuts at the event; former champs in the field are Hewitt (2010), Haas (2009), Federer (2008, ’06-04), and Berdych (2007).

AEGON Classic
Birmingham, England
Surface: grass

Seeds: Kaia Kanepi, Ana Ivanovic, Shuai Peng, Daniela Hantuchova, Roberta Vinci, Ekaterina Makarova, Sara Errani, Aravane Rezai, Ayumi Morita, Bojana Jovanovski, Yaroslava Shvedova, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Rebecca Marino, Maggie Rybarikova, Chanelle Scheepers, Alla Kudryavtseva

Floaters: Sabine Lisicki, Sania Mirza, (WC) Heather Watson, Alize Cornet

Notes: Last year’s champion and 2011 French Open winner Li Na skips this one; no Top 15 players in the draw; challenging opening-round match-ups are (12) Date-Krumm vs. the veteran Lisicki, (15) Scheepers vs. the Brit (WC) Watson, and (16) Kudryavtseva vs. Cornet; challenged-in-general American Alexandra “Dr. A” Stevenson qualifies to the main draw; former champions include former No. 1s Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, but no returning champs in 2011.

e-Boks Sony Ericsson Open
Copenhagen, Denmark
Surface: hard

Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Klara Zakopalova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Lucie Safarova, Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, Anastasija Sevastova, Jelena Dokic, Alberta Brianti

Floaters: none

Notes: The Danish world No. 1 Wozniacki has a pseudo-interesting opener against American grinder and former college star Irini Falconi; Melanie Oudin and other “B”-level Americans in the mix (American Julia Boserup gets a wildcard?); Wozniacki beat Zakopalova in last year’s final; the event is actually played in Farum, north of Copenhagen.

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44 Comments for Federer v Hewitt Highlights Grass Season Kick-off; Previews

Eric Says:

“French Open runner-up Roger Federer and former Wimbledon champ Lleyton Hewitt face off first round at the Queen’s Club, ”

You mean Halle…and like I said the other day, it’s a complete f***** travesty that the 2010 finalists have to play in the first round. Maybe Halle is punishing Lleyton for beating Roger last year, but this is a giant pile of crap that sucks for Roger, for fans, the tournament, and most of all Hewitt.

Eric Says:

Also, Oudin counts as a B-level? lol… the C level must be awful indeed.

And you can’t really blame Caroline. It’s the first and only WTA tournament in Denmark and (like the Serbia Open for Nole) it only exists because of her rise to the top. Does it make sense to play an HC tournament 2 weeks before Wimbledon? no…

Diego Says:

Tough luck for Hewitt. He hasn’t played a tournament since March and as the defending champion, he’s got to play Federer in the 1st Round. Perhaps if he had played a few matches in the early rounds, he could’ve worked his way into some decent form. Nearly impossible to beat Federer out of the gates after a 3 month layoff.

Kimberly Says:

I would have put oudin as c level at best. I saw mardy fish and Andy r. Back in the top ten

jane Says:

Yay, Murray is still listed for Queens. I see Milos is playing Halle, am very curious to see his form on grass.

Eric Says:

jane, that will be very interesting to see indeed!

rackettec Says:

Federer gave it a good run today, hard to imagine him as the underdog

WTF Says:

Fed vs Hewitt in the first round? That’s a rematch of last year’s final. How weird.

jane Says:

Bellucci beat Dimitrov first round at Queens but it looks like it was a close battle.

Also, I read that Andy M is playing dubs with his bro, so the brothers Murray will be at it on grass.

Kimberly Says:

i thought i head nadal say he was playing dubs too.

dari Says:

Roger is out of Halle
For margot and others, silly stuff from Andy
RT @ATPWorldTour Watch this fun viral video of @andy_murray http://youtu.be/69fcLd8uIZg And

Eric Says:

Interesting. I wonder what he will do to prepare for Wimbledon. Lucky for Lleyton, though, now he can maybe make it past the first round… :)

Eric Says:

Tournament director Ralf Weber said Federer’s withdrawal was “a personal disappointment that I cannot describe at the moment.”

“I am stunned,” Weber said. “Our plans for the past year have been nearly exclusively with Roger appearing. And he never gave us any doubts that he had health problems. I clearly expressed my disappointment to his management.”

Told you they’d be pissed. ;)

dari Says:

When I was posting it, I was gonna type “Eric called it” but I left it out :)
Well novak and he are the odd ones out w/ no grass tune up, we will see how that goes

Eric Says:

yeah, I am pretty concerned. Getting match-fit for grass without one of the “tune up” tournaments is a tall order, even if they spend a lot of time practicing. I hope their Wimbledon draws have no ugly surprises in the first week…

I hope for another Wimbledon Fedal final a la 2007… As long as Roger wins another Wimbledon! I’ve always felt that the “Roger owns grass” thing is a complete myth (he’s not really any better on grass than hardcourt, it’s just that most other players are much less comfortable on grass and then there are only two tournaments which he enters with 110% intent to win… if Cincy and the USO were the only hard court tournaments in the year he would be just as dominant on hard as he has been on grass!) but his Wimbledon wins are always something special and I hope he faces Rafa so he can prove that he CAN beat him after all!

skeezerweezer Says:


I wouldn’t be too concerned. Feel better if he actually takes a break from it all and re-energize. That was a great run at FO and he mentally had it together until 5-2 in the first, then Rafa-itis set in the brain. He needs to take some amnesia pills before playing Rafa again. Just play your game, not his, win or lose. He looked mentally spent in the post presser.

Anyways, it’s a lot easier transition than it use to be. In the past, it was imperative that you get some Grass time in before Wimby as they played radically different, almost polar opposites of one another. Now they play closer together than apart. Plus Fed is more than comfortable on the stuff. Just hope he carries the game he brought on to FO into Wimby.

Feel bad for the Halle people though, they truly treat Fed like Royalty there and build the whole thing pretty much around him.

Eric Says:

Skeezer, everyone is always saying that Wimbledon keeps getting slowed down and down… green clay, etc.

As far as I know, the only change they have made was in 2001 when they switched to a different kind of grass. Is there any REAL evidence that Wimbledon is any slower now than it was in 2001 or 2002? Does anyone know what changes, if any, they’ve actually made, or is this canard just based on what a few players have said?

Eric Says:

And I guess I am not too concerned. It’s not like Fed is going to be drawn to play Rafa in the first round at Wimbledon. :) So he will have time to work his way into perfection on the surface. I want so badly for him to win Wimbledon this year and prove that not only is he not completely washed up…but he can still win slams, not just ALMOST win them.

dari Says:

That’s gotta be a tough call, especially for his fave tourney and one that is centered around him. BTW, that draw looks relatively heavy this year, I don’t remember it being so before. think.fed had anything to do with that?
I guess in the end, you can simulate match practice but you can’t simulate rest.

dari Says:

I mean especially “before” face tourney (wimb) and one centered around him (Halle)

Eric Says:

Dari, if anything it is a bit lighter than last year… Okay, this year there is Berdych and Monfils, but last year there was Davydenko, Ferrero, Melzer, Baghdatis… and of course all the good German players are around again, Kohls and Petzschner. But like Jane said, I am interested to see Raonic. I guess it’s been a few months since he did anything of note but if his grass form is as good as his hardcourt was in Jan/Feb, he could already be a real challenge say early in the second week at Wimbledon. Baby Sampras? We’ll have to wait and see.

skeezerweezer Says:


From the “Grass Court” Wiki…..

“However, Wimbledon, the most prestigious grass tournament, has slowed down its grass courts as early as 2001, with players stating that the courts of Wimbledon have become slower, heavier, and high bouncing.[1] In 2001, organizers at Wimbledon had changed the grass to 100% perennial rye, in addition to changing to a harder and denser soil, which resulted in a higher bounce to the ball — earning Wimbledon grass the unwanted nickname of “green clay”. Grass specialist, Tim Henman, voiced out against this change in 2002, by stating, “What on earth is going on here? I’m on a grass court and it’s the slowest court I’ve played on this year.”[2] As a result, baseline play has become a preferred approach at Wimbledon, as opposed to the serve and volley of the past.”

jane Says:

dari, very sweeeet vid of Andy M. “Like” the shower scene.

Re: Fed pulling out of Halle. He did that in 2009 and still won Wimbledon, so probably nothing to be concerned about.

dari Says:

Gael and raonic were the ones who were making it look heavy to me, berdych too but I thought he played there a few years ago, anyway, grass is at best a two-off chance to see how so and so is going to perform on that surface. Should be exciting for those we’ve had our eye on this season for various reasons- returning from injury, not losing for 6 months, shooting up the rankings, etc.
I’ve still yet to play on grass, gotta figure out where that nearest court would be that is not exclusive…

dari Says:

That’s right about 2009, Jane, I forgot. I wasn’t too concerned anyway, but now not atall

Eric Says:

Skeezer, yeah, that’s the change I knew about. I guess they haven’t done anything since then. The way a lot of people here talk about it, you’d think the Wimbledon organizers have been slowly developing a way to camouflage clay as grass and perfecting it year by year. But the courts are actually still the same as they were in 2001. Maybe they were tired of Sampras winning it every year. :)

Dari, yeah, I am looking forward to seeing Monfils and Raonic but Gael’s game isn’t that suited to grass and we can’t really consider Milos a “heavyweight” yet until we’ve seen him a match at least. :) Berdych of course I expect to flame out yet again but he does have the powerful serve and fast strokes that could get him deep on grass again.

Anyway, can’t wait for Wimbledon now!

Eric Says:

Ha the Andy M video is cute. At least he has the good sense to use a French press for his coffee.

Marina Says:

“I am very disappointed as it is one of my favorite tournaments on the ATP World Tour, but my body and especially my groin need a rest after the French Open,” Federer said today in a statement. “After talking with my team this morning, I feel that it is too big a risk to take a chance and aggravate it before Wimbledon.”

jane Says:

Jeeeeeepers where’d our hockey team go? We’re getting routed by the Bruins, probably deservedly, as payback for that Horton hit (which was bad: Rome, the dumbell). Arrrgh.

The good thing about tennis is no one physcially hurts anyone else, intentionally or otherwise (welll there’s the odd freak exception). They just hurt themselves by wiping out or over-playing.

Kimberly Says:

Well you still have most of the third period, a comeback is possible? That was one of the worst things I have ever seen in any sport.

jane Says:

You must not watch much hockey Kimberly. Hits are routine, blood most games, etc. It is the one thing I don’t like about hockey, esp. with all the concussion scares. Erm, we ain’t coming back from this debacle. Fugly play from our team. Outstanding by their goalie.

btw, who would call Djoko the clay goat? I don’t remember reading that here but you said it on the other thread; it was kind of silly for someone to write such a thing.

Colin Says:

On the subject of grasscourt warm-ups for Wimbledon, have you guys noticed that both Williams sisters are playing at Eastbourne next week?

Miki Says:

So no prep for grass for Nole and Roger. I hope it doesn’t affect Nole’s performance at Wimbledon. And I’m not concerned for Roger, it’s his turf.

Eric, I agree with about the myth of Roger owning grass. In fact, I would go as far as saying that he is almost equally good at all surfaces, just a tad worse on clay then on HC and grass. But he is still very good, but when you have someone like Rafa it’s very hard to be as successful on clay as he is on other surfaces. In some way, it applies to Rafa as well. His success on clay IMO is a combination of him being really good on it (and it suits his game), and others being not so accustomed to it. I would say Djoko is a very good clay courter, but still needs to improve his movement on clay.

Jane, did anyone really say that? Djoko clay goat? No sense at all, but let’s he managed to get to the final at RG and beat Nadal, then whe could call him The clay GOAT slayer :)…unfortunately (for us Nole fans) that didn’t happen.

Miki Says:

let’s SAY he managed to….typo

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Another game for Meelosh!
Very exciting dark horse, that kid. He’s got a serve like Roddick’s (or better?), and a far superior net game. I know grass is very tricky but he has the tools to excel here.

I agree with the sentiment that the grass season should be longer. Eric, regarding the slowing of Wimbledon, it wasn’t to stop Sampras per se, it was to stop his style of play. Wimbledon had become a bomb competition between Sampras and Ivanisevic, quite boring. They just went too far.
If there were a brain to be had in the tour, they would begin regulating the EQUIPMENT, like, uhhh, EVERY SINGLE OTHER SPORT ON EARTH.

At French, I think there were 3 legit contenders, with Nole and Rafa, then Fed as a dark horse. On grass, its Rafa and Fed with Nole as the dark horse, but I think we can count on some serious challenges from Roddick and Murray, with perhaps some bombs in the paths from Del Potro, Soderling and Raonic.

dari Says:

Like feli, but glad a-rod made it thru that first round. I wanna see him make a nice run at wimb

jane Says:

ESPN has an interesting article on Murray; margot, hope you are around and get to read it. Here’s the link:


Halle tournament director will apparently be meeting with Fed at Wimbledon to discuss “the matter” (his withdrawal, I assume); here is the article:


Probably they are more angry because Federer is the main draw at their event, whereas, while Nole’s out, at Queens there is still Rafa, Murray, Delpo, Nalby, Roddick, Tsonga, Simon, Cilic etc. Queens tends to attract a deeper field.

Eric Says:

jane, they are angry because they and Roger made a huge deal out of the multi-year contract they signed last year saying he would appear at Halle for so-and-so many years. If it were just any old ATP tournament they wouldn’t care as much.

Eric Says:

Also, it’s true that Queens always attracts more of the top 20 (shall we say) players in the rankings and is generally more star-studded. But if you look at who is actually good on grass (as opposed to good overall) they are a lot closer together. Halle attracts most of the unheralded upset-seekers who are SO dangerous on grass but don’t really make as much of a splash in the rankings. Like Kohls or Petzschner, for example, and Haase (the last 2 stretched Rafa to 5 sets at Wimbledon last year, Haase almost won before folding).

dari Says:

Wonder what clauses are in the Halle-Fed contract.
If I think too much, I worry because maybe fed would actually have to be hurt to pull out of tourney he has huge contract with?
Tennis/ roger fandom is really stressin me out right now

dari Says:

Who is James ward? Beat Stan W in two

Humble Rafa Says:

James Ward is British. Enough said.

If you lose to a Brit other than Murray, you would have lost to a 10 year old.

rackettec Says:

Guess we wont have a chance to see the Hewitt /Federer match afterall. Hewitt most likely pleased.

Colin Says:

James Ward’s world ranking is 216, so that won’t look good on Wawrinka’s CV!

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