ATP Halle & ATP Queen's Club Tips: Murray and Federer continue injury comebacks

Following a stunning French Open final yesterday attention moves to grass courts with ATP events this week in Halle and Queen's Club. Dan Weston previews the action and looks for the betting angles...

Djokovic slightly odds-against for Wimbledon after French Open triumph

What a final we were treated to yesterday at Roland Garros, with Novak Djokovic coming back from two sets down to win in five sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic clash.

Djokovic is 2.28 to win Wimbledon in around a month's time, and it would probably be pretty brave to bet against the world number one adding to his Grand Slam collection at SW19.

Lack of grass court data extremely problematic

In the run-up to Wimbledon, though, are a number of grass court warm-up events which take place over the next couple of weeks. This week, there are 500 level tournaments in Halle (Germany) and Queen's Club (London). But I want to make clear - we don't have any usable grass court data to assess expected levels of players. In an ideal world I'd fast-forward a few weeks to the end of Wimbledon and get going again with the remainder of the hard court season!

Naturally, this lack of data is extremely problematic. There were no grass events last season and the grass segment of the tour has small data samples at the best of times.

We could use longer-term grass data but this won't accurately take into account player improvement or decline, so that's not a solution. Probably the most ideal answer would be to use 12 month data for events held at venues with quick conditions, but this is still the best of a bad bunch in terms of dealing with the situation. The best option is a watching brief for the next two weeks in advance of Wimbledon while we gather usable grass court data.

Given this, I'm going to be extremely reticent about giving recommendations over the next couple of weeks, but there still will be some fascinating discussion points in both of this week's events.

Federer with very tricky draw in Halle

In Halle, Roger Federer - despite pulling out of Roland Garros midway - returns to tour and is competing with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and himself competing for outright favourite status at around 5.0 to 6.0. Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev, plus Roberto Bautista-Agut complete top-10 interest in the tournament, which has no first-round byes for seeds - all players will need to win five matches to lift the trophy.

Federer has been drawn in Medvedev's quarter which looks pretty tricky. Ilya Ivashka, his opening round opponent, is a competent player, while a second round match against either Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz will be tough, before Medvedev - a player who tends to enjoy quick conditions like Federer - in the quarters.

Tsitsipas has a much easier quarter in theory and his half possesses just Rublev in terms of top ten opposition, while there are four top 10 players in the top half of the draw. Obviously we don't know how Tsitsipas will be affected in the coming week by fatigue and his loss to Djokovic, and that's a huge question mark.

Murray returns to tour at Queen's Club

Another player returning to tour is Andy Murray, and the Scotsman faces Benoit Paire in his first match at Queen's Club.

Paire has been very poor since the tour resumed last summer and represents one of the players Murray would have been happy to draw. Matteo Berrettini, the top seed and tournament favourite at 5.9, awaits the winner in round two and Murray would be underdog against the big-serving Italian.

The likes of Jannik Sinner and Denis Shapovalov feature in the bottom half of the draw, and it will be fascinating to see how the tournament progresses. Historical data suggests that Queen's is the quickest event on the entire tour, so in theory, there should be plenty of tiebreaks and tight, variance-heavy sets.

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