Richard Gasquet and Andy Murray, grass court experts and immensely popular players, are among the aces ready to battle it out for glory at the Nottingham Open.
With this year’s ‘s-Hertogenbosch tournament in the Netherlands cancelled for a second successive season, the ATP Challenger event at Nottingham Tennis Centre has attracted a handful of players who are winding down their career such as South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, France’s Gasquet, Scotland’s Murray and Italian Andreas Seppi.
Gasquet, twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist, registered his 550th ATP Tour singles success in March at the Dubai Championships. As an outstanding all court player the 34-year-old is in with a shot of capturing his 16th ATP Tour title at Nottingham as the provisional top seed.
Another 34-year-old set to open the grass court season in Nottingham is ex-world no.1 and former Olympic champion Andy Murray. The veteran, who has twice won Wimbledon, withdrew from the French Open – where he was due to compete in the qualifiers – because of his groin problem that he picked up during his sleep ahead of the Miami Open in March.
He started his recovery with a training week in the Italian city of Rome with a string of practice sessions including Serbia’s world no.1 Novak Djokovic. Should Murray’s return to competitive tennis run smoothly then he aims to take part at the grass court tournament held at Queen’s Club ahead of Wimbledon.
Yoshihito Nishioka is an exciting rising star, the 25-year-old left-hander has never won a match at Wimbledon as his style of play is better suited to slow surfaces. However, he has five ATP Challenger crowns as well as one ATP Tour title, so is expected to soon make a breakthrough on other surfaces apart from clay.
Two other Japanese players are set to join compatriot Nishioka in the draw, unless still involved in the French Open, namely Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
ATP Challenger MAIN DRAW
|Thiago Seyboth Wild||BRA||121|