Some of the most intense days of every calendar year in tennis involve qualifying at the four Grand Slams. Qualification is an all-or-nothing ordeal, with those who win three matches advancing to the biggest stage in tennis whereas everyone else (aside from lucky losers) goes home without anything to show for his or her efforts. Considering that almost everyone involved in qualifying is ranked outside the top 100, successful qualification also represents a huge, potentially career-changing payday.
Many lower-ranked players were hopeful that the unique circumstances surrounding Wimbledon in 2022 would give them a bump into the main draw with direct entry. After the All-England Club announced the banning of Russians and Belarusians from participation, the ATP and WTA countered by saying they will not award ranking points at the season’s third Grad Slam. With no ranking points to be gained, it was initially thought that a fair amount of players would withdraw.
However, that number proved to be miniscule–meaning almost all of the men and women outside the direct-entry cutoff have once again been relegated to their Wimbledon qualifying stomping grounds.
Of course, playing on the green grass of Roehampton with a chance to make it into the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world. Roehampton, just a few miles away from the All-England Club in southwest London, is quite simply a tennis extravaganza. The setting is one giant field, with about 20 match courts, a couple of practice courts, and then copious amounts of green space for players and fans alike to walk around, hang out, and enjoy the setting.
Even though it now costs money to attend (admission was free until a few years ago), it’s well worth 10 pounds. The quantity of tennis being played is off the charts and the quality isn’t too far behind. On the men’s side, the qualifying field includes Jack Sock, Vasek Pospisil, Andreas Seppi, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Mikhail Kukushkin. Gilles Simon was in the draw, but his last Wimbledon ended with a straight-set loss to Duje Ajdukovic on Monday. Coco Vandeweghe, Astra Sharma, Yanina Wickmayer, Nadia Podoroska, Ellen Perez, and Christina McHale are in the women’s draw.
Main-draw action at Wimbledon does not begin until next Monday and the draw does not come out until Friday, so for now Roehampton has center stage along with this week’s ATP and WTA events. It’s worth tuning into–especially if you are in London!