LONDON, UK - He may not have won the French Open title, but after following up a string of early losses in the clay court lead-up season with a run to the semifinals of Roland Garros, Andy Murray showed he’s back in top form - which could mean danger for the rest of the tour on grass.
And while he’s won two of his three career Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, in 2013 and 2016, nowhere is he more dangerous than at Queen’s Club, where he’s won the title an amazing five times - that’s more than anyone in the history of the tournament, which dates all the way back to 1890.
“I’ve played some of my best tennis over the years here,” Murray told BBC Sport. “It’s a tough, tough field and if you can get through this tournament then it gives you a big boost going into Wimbledon.”
Murray’s five titles at Queen’s Club came in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Going into 2016, he was in an eight-way tie for most Queen’s Club titles with four - Major J.G. Ritchie, Anthony Wilding, Roy Emerson, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick also had four here.
But with last year’s title run he separated himself from them all to become the all-time leader at the ATP World Tour 500-level event, and this year he’ll try to up his own record with a sixth title here.
If Murray wins Queen’s Club this year, he’ll become just the fourth active player to win the same ATP World Tour event six or more times. The first three are, as you’d probably guess, the other three members of the Big Four - Roger Federer (who’s done it at six tournaments), Rafael Nadal (who’s done it at four tournaments) and Novak Djokovic (who’s done it at three tournaments).
Murray is 30-5 in his career at Queen’s Club, which includes winning his last 10 matches in a row here (5-0 to win the title in 2015 and 5-0 to win the title in 2016). He’s also on a 12-match winning streak on just grass in general (all in 2016 - 5-0 to win Queen’s Club and 7-0 to win Wimbledon).
He opens this week’s campaign against fellow Brit Aljaz Bedene, who’s rocketed up the rankings over the last few months - he was outside the Top 100 as recently as the Indian Wells fortnight in March but this week is just outside the Top 50 at No.54. He’s 0-12 against Top 10 players, though.
Murray won the pair’s only previous meeting in the round of 16 at this event last year, 6-3 6-4.
Watch Andy Murray at Queen’s Club all week on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus!
Here’s a taste of what Bedene can do - a hot shot from their match at Queen’s Club last year: