This week on the UKTN, the best goal in the world is to bring his grass-court best to a pair of ATP 250 events in Eastbourne and Mallorca.
Local favorite Cameron Norrie headlines the draw at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, where Jannik Sinner, defending champion Alex de Minaur and 2019 titlist Taylor Fritz are also chasing success on the south coast of England from June 20 to 25.
Daniil Medvedev is defending his crown at the Mallorca Championships, which take place on the Balearic island from June 19-25. Those trying to stop the world No.1 in Spain include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov and the in-form Nick Kyrgios.
ATPTour.com provides five things to look out for at every event.
See the draws: Eastbourne | Majorca
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN EASTBOURNE
1) Norrie & Sinner title: Norrie is the top seed at Eastbourne, where the world No. 11 is looking to bounce back from a first-round loss to Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club last week. The British No.1 reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and comes to Eastbourne with an impressive 26-14 record for 2022, including two UKTN titles.
Sinner is seeded second in his first tournament since withdrawing from his Roland Garros quarter-final against Andrey Rublev with a left knee injury. The Italian makes his Eastbourne debut as he chases a maiden grass crown and a maiden title in 2022.
2) De Minaur defends the crown: The Aussie clinched his fifth tour-level title at Eastbourne last year by beating Lorenzo Sonego in the Championship match. De Minaur sits sixth this time around on England’s south coast as he looks to improve on his results after just one win from two tournaments in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and London.
3) Fritz leads the American charge: Another former champion, Taylor Fritz, leads a strong team of Americans at Eastbourne. The world No. 14 fell at the first hurdle in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and London, but the third seed arrives with a season record of 21-10 as he seeks a second title in 2022 at a tournament where he lifted the trophy in 2019.
Fritz is joined in the draw by compatriots Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Sebastian Korda and Jenson Brooksby, as well as fifth seed Reilly Opelka, who opens against another American in Maxime Cressy.
4) Draper, Evans Lead British Hopes: As well as Norrie, world number 31 Daniel Evans and #NextGenATP contender Jack Draper will be among those receiving home support as they bid to become the first British champion at Eastbourne since Greg Rusedski in 2003.
Evans was a quarter-finalist in 2021, while Draper, 20, will look to back up his impressive loss to Fritz in London last week with a solid showing on his tournament debut. Wildcard Ryan Peniston also made headlines at the Queen’s Club, claiming his first tour-level win over Casper Ruud and also beating Francisco Cerundolo. The 26-year-old will chase another upset at Eastbourne as he opens against eighth seed Holger Rune.
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5) Defending Champions Mektic/Pavic: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic look to maintain their dominance on Britain’s grass courts as they defend their title at Eastbourne. The Croatian duo also lifted the trophy at Wimbledon last year and are set to play together for a third surface title at the Cinch Championships on Sunday.
Their rivals in Eastbourne this week include second seeds and 2019 champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, and Roland Garros runners-up Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.
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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN MALLORCA
1) Medvedev defends his title: The world No. 1 picked up his first title on grass on his tournament debut in Mallorca last year and he hit the ground on the surface in 2022. Medvedev was runner-up at ‘s-Hertogenbosch a week ago and is returned to -return to the UKTN Finals this week at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, where he will contest his first title of the year against Hubert Hurkacz on Sunday.
2) The beginnings of Tsitsipas and Shapovalov: Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas is 2-2 on grass this year, but the Greek looked to have found his feet in Halle last week, despite a narrow second-round loss to Nick Kyrgios. The world No. 6 makes his debut in Mallorca, where he is aiming for a second title of the year.
Another 23-year-old powerhouse, Denis Shapovalov, is looking for a first win of the year on grass as he makes his first appearance for Mallorca. The Canadian hopes to regain the form that led him to a first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon in 2021.
3) Kyrgios will start? : Kyrgios has looked confident in Germany over the past two weeks, reaching the semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle. Despite narrow defeats to Andy Murray and Hubert Hurkacz in their last four respective clashes, the heavy-serving Aussie will be a major threat on his tournament debut for Mallorca as he chases a maiden tour-level crown on grass. Top seed Medvedev is a potential quarter-final opponent for the 27-year-old.
4) The Spaniards are chasing success at home: The fourth seed, Pablo Carreno Busta, is the top-ranked home prospect in Mallorca, where he is aiming for a maiden title on grass. A semi-finalist in 2021, he can look to compatriot Feliciano Lopez for advice on how to go further on the surface – the wildcard has won four of his seven titles at grass-court tour level – while fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut also has experience in that department, having lifted the trophy at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2014.
5) Arevalo/Rojer Top Seeds: Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer’s eight-game winning streak ended in the Halle semi-finals, but the Salvadoran-Dutch duo remain one of the in-form teams on the UKTN, having won three titles since meeting at the beginning of the year. The Roland Garros champions are seeded in Mallorca, where their highest-ranked rivals are all-German duo Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.