Grosjean, Nishikori Receive Wild Cards
by Press Release|
The first three wild cards into the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club in London have been awarded to a two-time runner-up, the current Wimbledon and US Open Boys champion, and a man who Rafael Nadal predicts will be a Top 10 player in the future.
The former finalist is Sebastien Grosjean, the reigning Wimbledon junior champion is the exciting 17-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, and the man that pushed Nadal all the way in last year’s third round at The Queen’s Club is Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Frenchman Grosjean reached the final in 2003 and 2004 where he was defeated on both occasions by Andy Roddick. In both of those years, the jet-heeled 30-year-old also showed that the tournament at Queen’s is the perfect Wimbledon preparation by reaching the semi-finals at the All England Club. He will be hoping that the AEGON Championships in 2009 is the perfect launch-pad for a successful comeback to professional tennis after undergoing shoulder surgery last December.
Dimitrov is one of the most promising talents in the world and was recently described by coach Peter Lungren, who previously worked with Roger Federer and Marat Safin, as: ‘better than Federer at the same age’. He is currently at a career-high No.372 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, and still the No.2 junior player in the world despite not having played a junior event since winning the US Open last September.
Nishikori, 19, is currently the highest ranked teenager in the world at No.118, but he has been as high as No.56 after winning his first ATP World Tour title last year in Delray Beach. After several more impressive results in 2008, including a run to the last 16 at The Queen’s Club, Nishikori was voted the ATP Newcomer of the Year, becoming the first Asian player ever to win the award. He was beaten 6-4 3-6 6-3 by Nadal in the third round last year. Afterwards, Nadal said: “He is going to be a top 10 player for sure, maybe top five. I am 100 percent sure. He's a very talented player. He needs to improve a few little things, but he's going to be very good."
The three wild cards will join a field that already includes the World No.1 and defending champion Nadal, World No.3 Andy Murray and four-time champions Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick. James Blake, Marat Safin and Marin Cilic have also signed up to appear. The tournament still has two more wild cards to award. These will be announced in due course.