That is Wimbledon – the third main event of the calendar 12 months – however the venue and opponents will not be conscious of it. At this tennis membership, the crowds are smaller, the cheers are quieter, and the courts are packed collectively near the All England Membership three miles away.
Whereas the primary draw at Wimbledon could not begin till subsequent week, the journey of getting there for greater than 250 gamers has already begun.
The four-day qualifying event in Roehampton, London may very well be a golden ticket to the primary stage of Wimbledon – a spot the place some gamers dream of competing for the remainder of their careers.
“And our lodging is definitely proper subsequent to the Wimbledon gate. Daily I am so shut – I can see it, however I have not really gone by the gates in 10 years, so clearly it might be good to be there once more.”
Previous to Monday, Krueger had by no means received a Wimbledon qualifier – affectionately often known as the “Qualifiers”. However a 6-1 6-4 win over Briton Luca Pow made the 28-year-old take a small however necessary step in direction of a key tie.
“I performed a variety of shut matches within the first rounds, however I by no means received over the humps,” Krueger continues. “The truth that I used to be capable of get so near the pitches is admittedly large. I am excited to maintain the grasscourt season going.”
Most gamers qualify for the Grand Slam by their rating positions, however as much as eight areas in every lottery are reserved for total playing cards – determined by event organizers – and 16 are within the playoffs, which means these with a superb rank outdoors the highest 100 have Unlikely alternative. The Grand Slam glory.
Even progressing by qualification will not be simple. Gamers should both win all three of their matches, or hope to safe a spot as a “fortunate loser” after a late withdrawal from the primary draw.
says Krueger, who first certified for the primary attract one of many main tournaments on the 2018 US Open.
“You may have three powerful matches underneath your belt, whereas the others will include nothing. For those who can deal with it bodily, having the ability to qualify is unquestionably a bonus.”
Success in qualification will also be an enormous payday for these within the decrease rankings.
Eligible women and men singles have a mixed prize fund of £3,648,000 (about US$4,465,000) – a rise of 26% in 2021 – sufficient to achieve the primary spherical of the primary draw for a one-time fee of £ pound. 50,000 (about $61,000).
‘A dream come true’
On this 12 months’s Wimbledon qualifiers, some stadiums are geared up with short-term stands, whereas in others, spectators can occupy a viewing web site meters from the occasion, creating an intimate ambiance for the gamers.
It could take time to adapt to enjoying circumstances – particularly for these with restricted grasscourt expertise. Swiss Alexander Richard, ranked 192nd on the planet, is competing in his second championship on grass.
“It is very completely different. I am not used to it in any respect,” Richard advised CNN Sport after his 4-6 6-1 6-2 win over Britain’s Stuart Parker. “Nevertheless it’s undoubtedly a enjoyable floor with bounce I’ve by no means seen earlier than. I really feel like I haven’t got as a lot management of the ball as I often do on different courts.
“I am additionally shocked that whereas it is sort of quick, it is sort of gradual,” he provides. “I am unable to try this but – I am engaged on it.”
Richard by no means performed in the primary draw at a significant event, however he got here near taking part on this 12 months’s French Open when he misplaced within the third spherical of qualifying. He says it might be “very particular” to go to Wimbledon.
“This may undoubtedly be a dream come true,” he says. “Rising up, you at all times discuss Wimbledon once I was a child.
“I’d additionally wish to play on the primary web site – that may be cool. These stadiums look nice… the final time I used to be there, I believe I used to be eight, as a fan to go and watch. I do not fairly bear in mind what it regarded like.”
A number of the gamers competing within the qualifiers have already graced the Wimbledon foremost stage. Ukraine’s Daria Snegur received the women’ singles title at Middle Courtroom three years in the past and is now seeking to compete in her first main event.
“I really like the grass courts,” she advised CNN Sport after successful her opening sport within the playoffs. “That is my favourite spot…and the grass is my favourite floor. In fact, I need to play in the primary draw.”
Snigour performs in Roehampton with the Ukrainian flag hanging on her tennis set and fascinated by her homeland is near her coronary heart.
Snigur is behind Wimbledon’s determination to exclude Russians and Belarusians, which she says is “crucial” to her as a Ukrainian: “For me, it does not matter – with or with out factors,” she provides.
The removing of rating factors from this 12 months’s Wimbledon didn’t stop gamers from competing within the event, which can embrace 9 of the highest 10 gamers within the ladies’s rankings and 7 of the highest 10 within the males’s. The 4 absent because of damage and the exclusion of the gamers of Russia and Belarus.
The event has the added incentive of further prize cash – the full purse is simply over £40 million ($49 million), a 15.2% enhance on final 12 months – however the status of the competitors at Wimbledon can be an attraction – those that play Within the playoffs totally acquainted.
For some, simply standing on manicured lawns for a championship is the achievement of long-standing desires.
“At Wimbledon, Wimbledon is at all times going to be particular it doesn’t matter what occurs,” Krueger says. “Taking part in in the primary group at Wimbledon is everybody’s purpose – it does not matter if there are factors or not.”