Wimbledon 2012 is over and that means that Grand Slam tennis is history until Flushing Meadows later this summer. However, it does not mean that the tennis action stops on the ATP and Challenger Tours.
This week there are no less than four tournaments taking place at the ATP 250 level and nine players from inside the top 20 will be in action. The highest ranked player to take to the courts this week is David Ferrer, the world No. 5 as of Monday's update. He will be contesting the ATP Bastad draw in Sweden (red clay) where he is the top seed.
Robin Soderling is the defending champion, but the clay court expert remains on the sidelines with mono. Incidentally, after his ranking points from Bastad 2011 drop Soderling with no longer have any ranking points.
With Soderling's continued absence the only other player in the Bastad draw besides Ferrer that appears to have a serious chance to win is Nicolas Almagro, the tournament's number two seed.
Over in Croatia, ATP Umag will be running this week. That tournament, which is also a red clay event, features a handful of contenders. Fernando Verdasco, Marin Cilic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marcel Granollers and Juan Carlos Ferrero appear to be the main contenders in the event. Cilic, a Croat, appears to be playing the best at the moment.
Staying in Europe there is also an event taking place in Germany. ATP Stuttgart, another red clay event, looks as though it is about 4-5 players deep in contenders. Janko Tipsarevic is the top seed but the tournament also features Juan Monaco, Bernard Tomic, Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Haas.
On the American side of the Atlantic there is a small grass court event taking place. ATP Newport features World No. 10 John Isner, the tournament's defending champion. Isner was a tremendous underachiever at the All England Club this year. It looks like it will be tough to defend his title with Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Denis Istomin and Ryan Harrison all seeded in the draw.
Of those players only Istomin saw the second week at Wimbledon so all of the favorites should be fresh for the tournament. Other big names in the draw include Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Querrey.
There are also some notable names in the challenger draws this week. Feliciano Lopez, Santiago Giraldo, and Alejandro Falla will be active in Bogota, Colombia, a tournament with 125 ranking points awarded to the champion.
World No. 349 Thiemo de Bakker continues his efforts to return from injury at a red clay challenger event in Holland. If playing his best the Dutch player should win the event as there is not a lot of proven talent in the draw.
There are also challenger events taking place in both Italy and Romania. The event in Italy has virtually no well-known players while Romania, another red clay event, will feature veteran Victor Hanescu and rising star Javier Marti.