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Tsonga, Verdasco, Cilic Join Glittering Line-Up At Queen's Club

London, England

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga© Getty ImagesJo-Wilfried Tsonga recieved a prize for the best perfomance by a qualifier at Queen's Club in 2007.

Top 10 players Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco, and World No.11 Marin Cilic have added their names to an already star-studded list of players that will compete for the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club, 7th-13th June.

With 2008 champion Rafael Nadal, World No.2 Novak Djokovic, US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and four-time winner Andy Roddick already committed, today’s announcement means that seven of the world’s Top 11 players have already said that they will play at the prestigious grass-court tournament.

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Tsonga burst onto the scene with his performances at The Queen’s Club in 2007. The charismatic Frenchman came through the qualifying rounds whilst simultaneously winning the challenger tournament in Surbiton, often playing twice in a day. He then knocked out four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt at The Queen’s Club. It is a memory that Tsonga will not forget in a hurry, and he is convinced that he can be even more successful on grass in the future.

"It will be interesting to see how it goes for me at the AEGON Championships and at Wimbledon because grass is a good surface for me - I feel very confident and comfortable and can play quite well on it,” said Tsonga, who turned 25 last Saturday and reached the Australian Open in 2008. “I like The Queen's Club as I had some breakthrough results there three years ago, qualifying for the tournament and then beating Lleyton Hewitt. There are many people coming to the tournament, and the bigger the crowd, the better I usually play."

Cilic enjoyed a similar experience in 2007, beating Britain’s Tim Henman in the opening round before going on to reach the quarterfinals. The 21-year-old Croatian made his Grand Slam breakthrough this year, beating Del Potro and Roddick in successive five-set matches to reach the semifinals. Standing at 6’5” and coached by Bob Brett, who has worked with Goran Ivanisevic and Boris Becker, Cilic has become one of the most dangerous opponents in the world. He also likes grass.

“I showed that I can play really well on the surface in 2007. My first ever match on the grass was at The Queen’s Club, and I beat Tim Henman,” remembered Cilic. “It was really nice to play on the Centre Court in front of a full stadium, and I played one of the best matches of my career to win. I believe I can play my very best tennis on grass and win a lot of matches. I hope one day I can be in a position to win a Grand Slam title, and I would love for it to be at Wimbledon on grass.”

Verdasco is a man in form after reaching the Monte Carlo final last week to break into the World’s Top Ten. The Spaniard lost in the final to Nadal, but it was a fruitful week. It was a match against his Nadal at The Queen’s Club in 2006 that convinced many people that he would have a future in the game. Verdasco lost it 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-7(3), but he repeatedly knocked his compatriot backwards with the sheer weight of his left-handed shots. It was a similar story in their stunning Australian Open semifinal last year, which Nadal also ultimately won, in a tournament record 5 hours and 14 minutes.

The AEGON Championships will be broadcast live, every day, on BBC Television and Eurosport.
 

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