Sir Bruce Forsyth famously coined the phrase, “What do points make? Prizes!” but fellow knight of the realm Sir Andy Murray will spend the grass court season in pursuit of prizes that deliver him points instead.
Confused? Don’t be.
The Scots’ hard-earned world number one status is teetering on the brink following a below par start to 2017.
The Olympic champion needs ranking points as a matter of urgency to maintain his status on top of the tennis tree.
To breathe a little easier Murray must successfully defend his AEGON Championship and Wimbledon titles in the coming weeks, so the pressure is well and truly on.
He loves this period of the season though, and as a five-time champion, Andy Murray is the undisputed King of Queens.
After bouts of illness and injury the Scot has also rediscovered his Mojo, but even so, it won’t be easy at the salubrious west London venue this year.
The event contains half of the world’s top 14, as well as a number of highly dangerous unseeded players; including Nick Kyrgios (7/1), Feliciano Lopez (20/1) and the 2010 winner Sam Querrey (66/1).
French Open winner Rafael Nadal’s late withdrawal may have been a blow to organisers (if not Murray) but this traditional Wimbledon warm-up still contains one of the strongest fields in its history.
It will take a stellar week for Murray to walk away yet again with the trophy.
His two most obvious threats are second and third seeds Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.
Mentally it will be fascinating to see how beaten French Open finalist Wawrinka fares in the early rounds. He overcame Murray in a five-set semi-final classic in Paris, but was so badly obliterated by Nadal in the final that his confidence may have taken an almighty hit.
Perhaps this is why he’s an incredibly long 20/1 to walk away with the trophy? On the grass with his blazing ground shots, the Swiss machine still has to be respected.
Rising star Milos Raonic is last year’s beaten finalist, but hasn’t had a great 2017.
Making just one final, and so far trophy-less, the tall Montenegro star will be looking at the AEGON Championships to get his season started. He’s another that’s capable of being magnificent on the grass.
With his form pretty average, the 7/1 is perhaps a little small.
Most of the big guns come into this event ‘cold’ when it comes to grass court tennis, but dark horses Marin Cilic (8/1) and Thomas Berdych (22/1) have already had competitive practice over in Holland and Germany.
That will help their cause, but it’s Australian Wildman Nick Kyrgios who interests me most.
The erratic 22-year-old has had two stinking first round draws in a row at Queens – losing to Raonic and Wawrinka in the last couple of years – but if he gets a better run of matches, I can see him wowing the fans with a run to at least the last four.
Kyrgios is athletic and has the talent to go all the way – and I sense grass could become his best surface.
I’m clearly not alone in thinking this way as Grosvenor Sport rate him 7/1 joint second favourite.
Andy Murray is the man to beat though, and everyone else in the competition knows it.
With rankings points a big priority this week, and a full week’s match practice super helpful towards his assault on another Wimbledon crown, I’m expecting a fully focused world number one to turn up at the AEGON Championships.
This is his patch of grass, and I have faith he’ll own it once again.
Prediction: Andy Murray 7/5
For more tennis odds, take a look at Grosvenor Sport’s tennis betting.
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