Top 10 Queen’s Club moments.
John McEnroe’s tiff on a practice court with the chairman’s wife. McEnroe was stripped of his honorary membership, and banished from the Queen’s Club, after swearing at the wife of the then club chairman on a practice court. It was reported that McEnroe argued with Sheila Boden after she had denied him practice time on a court reserved for a mixed-doubles match. He eventually apologised to the Club and returned in 1992, ending an eight-year absence.
Boris Becker’s grand entrance. As a fresh-faced, fearless 17-year-old, Becker took the sports world by storm in the summer of 1985. In emphatically beating a man ten years his elder, Johan Kriek, the German won his first top-tier singles title at the Queen’s Club. That was the warm-up for what happened at the All England Club, where he would become the first unseeded player, the first German and the youngest player ever to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets.
Andy Murray’s ‘reverse-tweener’. Playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in last year’s Queen’s final, Murray wafted his racket from behind his back and though his legs. “I enjoyed hitting those shots,” Murray said. “That was good fun.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga “plays a different sport” on the grass. “He was playing a different sport to me at times,” Andy Murray said of his French opponent. “I’ve never seen anyone dive so much.”
The groundsman hides Ivan Lendl’s bike. Lendl would cycle to the courts. The groundsman Graham Kimpton thought it would be funny to hide the bike.
Ivan Lendl loses to Leif Shiras. Coming off the back of an epic comeback against John McEnroe in the 1984 final of Roland Garros, most tennis fans assumed Ivan Lendl’s match against Shiras would serve as a perfect warm down for the Czech. He lost in straight sets. “I knew, after his win in Paris, he would either blow me off the court or not really be tuned in at all,” Shiras said.
Rafael Nadal wins the title. Just seven days after his destruction of Roger Federer in the 2008 Roland Garros final, Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the Queen’s final. Nadal became the first Spaniard since Andres Gimeno in 1972 to win a grass-court title. “This week has been amazing for me,” said Nadal. Three weeks later it would get a whole lot better for the Majorcan.
Tim Henman pushes Pete Sampras to the limit. There was not much between them when they played for the title in the summer of 1999.
Andy Murray announces himself to the wider tennis world. Murray made the most of the wild card he had been given for the 2005 Championships. Sweeping aside Santiago Ventura and the experienced American Taylor Dent, Murray then produced some dramas and mini medical crises during a close match against Thomas Johansson, a former grand slam champion.
James Ward hires a cage-fighter. “He’s taught me a lot and given me a lot of discipline,” Ward, a semi-finalist last summer, said of the Argentine cage-fighter who was helping him with his fitness. “Obviously I’m not going to answer him back too many times.”