With the grass court season having now commenced, and with this period perhaps among the most important stages in the calendar, it may be a prominent focal point for players. They may be seeking to use this period productively to advance their seasons, as having attained experience throughout 2018, this may be the occasion where they may play at their peak capabilities. Considering the grass court season ultimately builds up to a crescendo with Wimbledon, it may also be increasingly important to emerge victorious in the opening tournaments, as it may act as the catalyst in eventual accomplishments at SW19. Motivation to succeed may, therefore, be at its peak for all, and with the surface also one of the most challenging due to the speed the ball travels, it seems upcoming tournaments may solely serve to produce intriguing and competitive encounters.
One of the initial tournaments was the Nottingham Open, utilised by British number one Johanna Konta. She ultimately reached the final, and may therefore claim plaudits for her consistency throughout. Yet, it may also motivate her to supersede this achievement, and with improvement perhaps therefore required, she may have further goals to aim for. As such, these tournaments seem to hold a high regard, with multiple countries thus hosting similar events. Whilst important in creating viable pathways for all players to practice and play in the build-up to Wimbledon, it may more importantly bypass boundaries across the continent, and unite the masses under a common goal.
Yet, the focus may be on Queens, as with the tournament often regarded as the warm-up to Wimbledon, it may offer a beneficial insight into which players may ultimately be superiorly equipped to claim the trophy. With Novak Djokovic having confirmed his intention to play in this year’s edition, it seems this tournament may contribute to tennis remaining at the forefront of focus in upcoming weeks. Securing players such as Djokovic, who boasts a high status, and therefore support network, may thus be increasingly important, as it may entice more fans to view the event. When coupled with attracting more proficient players to also become involved, due to the incentive of challenging themselves versus accomplished opposition, the importance seems further amplified.
Amongst the players returning to the fray is also Andy Murray, with his involvement, after a year-long absence due to injury, potentially assisting in creating a wide degree of intrigue around the sport. Due to perhaps being regarded as one of the most dexterous players on the tour, as supported by his status as a multiple Grand Slam victor, he may entice further support for the event. This may have already occurred via his participation at Queens, whereby he faced Nick Kyrgios in his first match. Whilst it ultimately was the Australian who emerged victorious, Murray may be able to draw productive conclusions, with it enabling him to continue his return to fitness. This may be pivotal in a potential successful run at Wimbledon, and considering he is British, he may act as the talisman for the sport. With other representatives including Kyle Edmund and Konta also earning seeded positions, it seems they may play a key role in both advancing the nation and the sport itself, with fans perhaps able to resonate with these players in particular.
While these opening tournaments may claim the focus, it may be how these encounters might be utilised which claims the plaudits. Results may be important, naturally enabling a showcase of both the strength-in-depth of the sport and providing an insight into the future. Yet, with this period of the season having solely recently commenced, the players may be using them to gain experience and fitness, alongside innovating their tactics. If they may continue to achieve this goal, all may be playing at their peak capabilities for Wimbledon, and considering the ongoing football World Cup may be claiming a large degree of focus, having a successful tournament may reiterate tennis’ position at the pinnacle of the sporting world.
How might the grass court season motivate all players to aim for a place at Wimbledon?