WTA / ATP: Alcaraz proves his class on grass

The Spaniard returns to world No.1 after a standout week at the Queen's Club.

Carlos Alcaraz / Roland-Garros 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The third Grand Slam of the season is just a week away. That's right, a sun-soaked London is ready to host Wimbledon.

Over the weekend a handful of players bolstered their grass court preparations with a trophy lift. Here is what you may have missed...

Alcaraz returns to the summit

Carlos Alcaraz is the leading light of men's tennis once again.

The 20-year-old navigated a turbulent start of the week to be crowned Queen's champion on the luscious lawns of west London.

The hot-shot fuelled 6-4, 6-4 passage past Alex de Minaur secured his first grass court title and propelled the Spaniard back to world No.1 ahead of Novak Djokovic.  

"So many legends have won here. Seeing my name on the trophy surrounded by the great champions is amazing. It means a lot to me," said Alcaraz, now the top seed for Wimbledon, which starts on July 3.

"The chances don’t change so much. Novak is coming to Wimbledon. Of course, recovering the No. 1 before Wimbledon gives you extra motivation, it gives you extra confidence."

Prior to Queen's, Alcaraz only owned a 4-2 career record on grass. Having escaped in a third set tie-break versus Arthur Rinderknech in his opening clash, Alcaraz clicked into gear to dismiss the likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Sebastian Korda in straight sets.

Back on top of the world, he's brimming with belief.

"I started the tournament not really well, I had to adapt my movement a bit on grass," added Alcaraz.

"But it's been an amazing week and it's ending with a lot of energy and on a high. I have played 11 matches in my career on grass, so I have to get more experience, more hours.

"After beating amazing guys, great players, and the level that I played, I consider myself one of the favourites to win Wimbledon."

Major players making major moves

Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko know how to taste Grand Slam glory and they're looking in fine fettle for a deep run at SW19 next month.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova sent out a reminder to the WTA of her grass credentials with a 31st career title in Berlin.

The world No.9 captured her second trophy of the campaign with a 6-2, 7-6(6) scoreboard over Elena Rybakina's conqueror Donna Vekic.

Last week Kvitova tweeted; "Happiness is being back on the green stuff," and it showed in Germany.

The Czech didn’t surrender a set all week. On top of that, the quarter-final victory over world No.5 Caroline Garcia was Kvitova's first grass win over a Top 10 opponent since her triumphant 2011 Wimbledon final.

Back to the United Kingdom and Roland-Garros 2017 champion Ostapenko defeated top seed Barbora Krejcikova 7-6(8), 6-4 to rule in Birmingham.

"I’m just really proud of myself the way I fought. That’s probably the key which brought me the title here," suggested the 2018 semi-finalist at Wimbledon.

"Just to fight for every single point, and to play until the very last point, because some matches I was down, but I managed to win them.

"It's great preparation for Wimbledon and I'm happy with the way I'm playing."

Roll of Honour rallies Bublik

Alexander Bublik will be a player all men will want to avoid in the Wimbledon draw next week.

The unorthodox 26-year-old was spellbinding for the Halle crowd with his usual concoction of instinctive shots and disguised strokes to clinch his second title.

Bublik managed to link all his trickery together along with some astonishing performances to down seeded opponents Borna Coric, Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev, before capping his milestone week 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 facing Andrey Rublev.

“It really means the world to me,” said Bublik, who rises to a career-high world No.26.

“I’ve been struggling for half a year and now having this a reward, I don’t take it for granted. It was hard work. I was walking through the little hall of fame here before entering the court for the very first time against Struff and I was like ‘Wow, the different names, a lot of guys I’m familiar with. That would be nice maybe to have it one day’. But I could not even imagine that I would win this tournament, and I’m really, really happy.”