Moment of madness | David Nalbandian’s kick out at the line judge hit the headlines, and caused his disqualification from the Queen’s Club tournament. (Image | Metro)

The grass court season has begun in earnest after its traditional curtain raiser at Queen’s Club ended with the disqualification of Argentinian David Nalbandian in the final for injuring a line judge, writes James Schofield.

Queen’s saw a surprise winner in Marin Cilic. The sixth seed faced unseeded players right the way through to the final before Nalbandian’s frustration over an errant forehand was taken out in spectacular fashion, thus ending the tournament and handing Cilic his seventh career title. Nalbandian had been a set to the good before the his assault on an advertising hoarding left the line judge bleeding heavily from the shin.

The Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, held in the same week as Queen’s, saw a much more competitive group compete for the title. First seed Rafael Nadal saw his preparations for Wimbledon dashed in the quarter finals at the hands of eighth seed Philip Kohlschreiber, losing in straight sets to the German. The tournament was won by the veteran Tommy Haas, the 34-year-old rolling back the years to see off third seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals, Kohlschreiber in the semi finals and, with a magnificent straight sets win, beating five-times Halle winner Roger Federer in the final.

Warming up | David Ferrer won his second successive title at the Den Bosch Open. | (Image | Yahoo)

David Ferrer was the only member of the top 10 to be playing this week as he contested the UNICEF Open in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. For the rest, this week will be one for fine-tuning their game and erasing any mistakes from their play before proceedings in SW19 begin on Monday. Top seed Novak Djokovic will be seeking his second consecutive Wimbledon title against one of the toughest fields seen in many years.

Despite his defeat in Halle, Nadal lost just once on clay this year in a run that saw him win four titles, including Roland Garros. One must not discount Roger Federer, a man who has won four tournaments already this year, including two Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Madrid. Andy Murray has had a mixed season by comparison, picking up a lone title in Brisbane at the start of the year before pushing Djokovic to the brink in a five set thriller in the semi finals of the Australian Open later that January. Since then, Murray has had an inconsistent season and the quality of his peers at this moment in time makes it unlikely that a Wimbledon title is in his reach just yet.

With the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin del Potro and Ferrer also in the running, this year’s Championships at the All England Club look as though they could be the most exciting in recent years.

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