Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka made light work of Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the opening round of the Queen’s Club grasscourt tournament on Monday, winning 6-2 6-3.
The 33-year-old Swiss, ranked 261 in the world after two knee surgeries, served solidly throughout a one-sided contest on the slick centre court, easing past an opponent who struggled to cope with Wawrinka’s power.
Wawrinka needed just shy of half an hour to pocket the opener, breaking twice, and was hardly troubled in the second set as he set up a second round match against American fifth seed Sam Querrey who beat British wildcard Jay Clarke 6-3 6-3.
“In general (the knee) has been improving week after week,” Wawrinka, beaten in the first round of the French Open, said. “Now I feel really good on court, strong physically.
“I will have ups and downs in the next months and need to be patient. You need to be ready to accept frustrating but today was a great day.”
Top seed Marin Cilic, runner-up at Wimbledon last year to Roger Federer, looked razor sharp as he came through a potentially tricky opener against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
The 29-year-old Croat, champion at Queen’s in 2012, lost only four points on serve during a 6-3 6-4 victory — his fourth in succession against Verdasco.
He will face Luxembourg’s grasscourt dangerman Gilles Muller next after he beat exciting Canadian shot-maker Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7) 7-6(6) in the day’s opening contest.
Shapovalov was left to rue his failure to convert a set point in the opener as he bowed out against the man who ended Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon hopes last year.
Double Wimbledon champion Andy Murray makes his return after nearly a year out with a hip injury on Tuesday when he will face Australian Nick Kyrgios in the first round.
Murray excited to end 11-month absence
Andy Murray is excited to be returning at the pre-Wimbledon Queen’s Club event this week after the former top-ranked player in the world experienced the “lowest point” of his career during an 11-month absence from tennis.
The 31-year-old Briton, who has been out of action with a hip injury since losing in the 2017 Wimbledon quarter-finals, has been drawn to meet Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the first round at Queen’s.
“I’m really looking forward to playing again,” Murray said in his regular BBC Sport column. “While I will be nervous, it will be great to finally step back on the court.
“With sport you play to win, but when you are away from something you love doing for almost a year, you realize you’re playing because you love it.
“I didn’t start playing to win Wimbledon or get to number one in the world. I never believed that was something I was going to do, or something I thought about when I was a kid growing up. I played tennis because I loved it and continued doing that throughout my whole career.”
Murray, who won the Wimbledon title in 2013 and 2016 and the U.S. Open crown in 2012, had an operation on his hip in January.
“When, after six months of not competing, you’re still not good enough to be where you want to be and looking like you’re going to have to have surgery, it’s the lowest point you can get to in your professional career,” he said.
“People might say, `oh, you’ve got it great’ – which I’m aware that we do, and I’m very lucky I get to play tennis for a living. But that’s what I’ve been doing since I was a child, and when you’re not able to do something that you love it’s tough.”
Wimbledon starts on July 2.