Master of Queens: Should Queens Be Upgraded To a Master's 1000 Event?
With the clay season coming into it's final, and biggest, event in the next few weeks, I skipped ahead, looking at the short grass season and its second biggest tournament.
The Queen's Club Championships.
Some have deigned to call it Wimbledon Jr. It's not a bad description. Queen's winners often finish runner-up or champion at the grass court grand slam.
With such a short grass season, and on tennis' original and most hallowed surface, how can this be considered a pathetic ATP 250 event?
Winning Queen's is a big deal for most players on tour. Outside of the four major slams, this is probably the season's most sought after title. It's proximity to Wimbledon, and the fact that it almost always plays host to most of the top players every year, makes this decision a no-brainer. It's probably the one non-slam event that player wants to attend, and compete in.
Some say that Queen's built its own greatness over the years. The venue doesn't need an ATP number to validate its legacy.
In some ways, I would have to agree. Queen's certainly demonstrated it's importance on the tour long before the ATP built a system with the master's series in mind.
However, elevating Queen's to a Master's 1000 event would at least show that the ATP acknowledges the event's importance, longevity and overall excellence.
There are currently nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments: Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Canada, Shanghai and Paris.
Most of these tournaments are quite old. Only four of these titles (Miami-1985, Indian Wells-1987, Madrid-2002, Shanghai-2009) have been developed recently. Most of the rest hover around the 100 year mark.
I respect tournaments with long, illustrious histories. Queen's happens to be one of them.
The event, first held in 1890, is one of the oldest tournaments on tour. While I understand the other Master's tournaments deserve their label, Queen's should replace one of them. Few could argue with that.
So which one should it be? With three ATP Master's 1000 events and a respectable ATP 500 tournament, the clay season could stand to lose one of their crown jewels.
I would never ask Monte Carlo or Rome to bow out. Both venues own rich tradition and heritage.
Madrid, on the other hand has only been around since 1990 and, until very recently, was a hard court event. I would like to see Madrid dropped to an ATP 500 tournament to make room for Queen's.
So what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you believe Queen's deserves this honor?
If we are not going to add more grass events on tour, then we should at least be proud, and hold in high esteem, of the ones we do have.
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