Shortly after Wimbledon, the tennis schedule can be kind of hectic, confusing, and even interesting. The French Open and Wimbledon have drained a lot of energy out of players on the tour, but there is still a need for US Open preparation. Complementing the eventual switch to hard court tennis, there are both clay and grass court tournaments the week after Wimbledon. There is even an ATP 500 level tournament on clay two weeks later in Hamburg, Germany. This leads to asking the question, what “tennis season” is directly after Wimbledon? Here is a look at the diverse group of tournaments that take place within the first few weeks after Wimbledon.
Grass after Wimbledon?
For some players, the answer is yes. The Hall of Fame Open in Newport, RI, USA takes place the week after Wimbledon and offers an opportunity for grass savvy players to gain up to 250 ranking points. This tournament shares origins with the US Open. These grounds formerly held the US National Lawn Tennis Championships, a tournament that eventually became the US Open. Former champions include big-name players like former World #1 Leyton Hewitt and 2018 Miami Open champion John Isner. However, this tournament usually does not see many top-ranked players as they tend to make deep runs at Wimbledon. Despite that, Newport still offers a great opportunity to see world-class lawn tennis. This year accomplished grass-court players such as John Isner, Adrian Mannarino, and Steve Johnson will compete for the final lawn tennis title of the year.
An Extended Clay Season? Why Not?
The Plava Laguna Croatia Open and the Swedish Open ATP 250 tournaments will be held on clay the first week after Wimbledon. They both offer extra ranking points for players who prefer playing on clay. In Umag, Croatia, recent Monte Carlo champion and top 10 talent, Fabio Fognini will headline as a contender for the crown. Additionally, Croatia’s home favorite and World #14 Borna Coric will attempt to bring home his first ATP title on home soil. In Bastad, Sweden, contenders include several former ATP titlist including Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet, Pablo Cuevas, and Cristian Garin. An in-form Nicholas Jarry and an improving Casper Ruud from neighboring Norway will also stake a claim for the title.
After tournaments in Sweden and Croatia, the Hamburg European Open brings this year’s last ATP 500 on clay and a chance to gain significant ranking points. This tournament, once the equivalent of a Masters 1000, was held during the clay court lead to the French Open. While Hamburg no longer has the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer competing for titles like in the mid-2000s, it still attracts some of the best clay court players in the world. This year’s tournament will see recent French Open finalist Dominic Theim headlining and battling for the coveted crown.
In the following weeks, many players will stay in Europe and prolong their transition to the hard courts. With tournaments in Gstaad and Kitzbuhel, there will be two final chances to claim a title on clay in 2019.
Like it or Not, Hard Court Season is Around the Corner
Welcome to Atlanta where the US Open Series will officially kick off with the BB&T Atlanta Open. This year’s edition will see John Isner attempting to win the title for the third straight year. Atlanta will also see many promising young players competing. A wave of youth competing this year includes Americans Francis Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz along with the talented Australian Alex de Minaur. Following this ATP 250 to kick off the hard court summer, the tour will move to Washington D.C, Los Cabos, Montreal, Cincinnati, and of course New York for the US Open.
Hard, Grass, or Clay; What Does this Mean for Players and Fans?
One thing for sure is that players have many choices for their return to the tour after Wimbledon. If they want to continue the grass swing, they can head to Newport. If they are a clay court specialist, they can stay in Europe and have the opportunity to earn a respectable amount of rankings points. Finally, if a player wants to return on hard courts they can return as early as the BB&T Atlanta Open for some quality U.S. Open preparation.
For the fans, this variety of competition translates to watching top-level tennis on all three outdoor surfaces, despite the first three majors having wrapped up.
So let’s get back to the original question, what “tennis season” follows Wimbledon? The answer is it depends, but one thing is for sure, it looks to be a great transition period before hard court swing takes over.