While the clay court season reaches its climax in Paris, many top players are already beginning their preparation for Wimbledon on the grass.
The Aegon Surbiton Trophy takes place this week in South London, just five miles from the All England Club. With ranking points and, more importantly, invaluable match time on pristine grass courts on offer, players such as Dan Evans, Dustin Brown and Heather Watson will hope to advance to the business end of the tournament.
For the men, the tournament is an ATP Challenger, with the draw containing a number of well-known British players, as well as youngsters and experienced journeymen.
World No. 55 Dan Evans is the top seed, and has an intriguing first round match today against fellow Brit James Ward. Ward, a regular in the successful 2015 British Davis Cup team, has been given a wild card into the event with his ranking at 734 following injury.
Other notable names in the draw include the young American talent Stefan Kozlov, a former Australian Open runner-up in Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, and the entertaining German Dustin Brown, who beat Rafael Nadal at the All England Club in 2015.
Last year’s boys singles champion at Wimbledon Denis Shapovalov, who made headlines earlier this year when he got disqualified when hitting an umpire while playing for Canada in the Davis Cup, is also in action, playing Australian and Lleyton Hewitt prodigy Jordan Thompson in the first round.
On the women’s side of the draw, British hopefuls Heather Watson, Naomi Broady and Laura Robson are all in singles and doubles action in this ITF $100,000 event, as well as American Julia Boserup, who is the fourth seed.
The third seeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina is up against American Sachia Vickery, and there has already been a shock, with well thought of Croat Donna Vekic, the number two seed, crashing out in three sets to native New Yorker Jamie Loeb on Monday.
However, in true British summer time fashion, the elements have so far not been kind to the tournament, with heavy rain and wind meaning no play was possible on Tuesday.
Thus, there is a full schedule here at the Surbiton Rackets & Fitness Club on Wednesday, with all competitors’ hopeful of gaining some time on the grass in advance of a busy few weeks of tournaments all over the country.
Freelance journalist Kieran Jackson is covering the British grass court summer in the lead up to Wimbledon for Tennis Now.