Although only a challenger level tournament, this superb grass court tournament will be the next step stone on the redemption arc of Andy Murray. Already, the former world number 1 had this to say leading up to the tournament:
"“I’ve chosen to come and play here, and in Nottingham (next week) to hopefully get lots of matches under my belt – so this week has been the perfect start,” Murray said."
The draw for this year’s edition is just as stacked as ever before. Thanasi Kokkinakis, seeded 6th, will also be making his appearance at this tournament, alongside top 100 player Dominic Stricker. In year’s gone by, Nottingham has been the breeding ground for champions of the future. Alex de Minaur, Dan Evans (twice), Frances Tiafoe, and Nick Kyrgios are all players who have hoisted the trophy at the conclusion of the Nottingham Open. Interestingly enough, each player has won the tournament the year prior to a breakout season. Nick Kyrgios won the Nottingham Challenger event in 2013, before storming onto the men’s tennis scene and defeating then world number 1 Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. Alex de Minaur also won Nottingham, this time in 2018, a year before his breakout season of 2019 where he won 3 ATP titles and made a further 2 finals.
The tournament may not draw as much fanfare, but the grass here at these more intimate tournaments is simply incredible. Often, Wimbledon grass courts are hampered by the wear and tear of constant play- but these earlier tournaments lend viewers a real chance to appreciate the lush green grass on TV or online. Given the very short nature of the grass season- fans should certainly treat the challenger tournaments as part of the grass season. Despite the few small ATP 250 tournaments which will be held over the next 2 weeks, challenger tournaments like Surbiton and Nottingham provide the breadth for tennis to be able to experience a full grass season.
Here as well are some pictures from the last week’s grasscourt tournament in Surbiton.