Wimbledon qualifiers: A short distance from the main court, players dream of reaching the main draw

That is Wimbledon – the third main match of the calendar yr – however the venue and rivals 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 principle 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 match in Roehampton, London could possibly be a golden ticket to the principle 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. On daily basis I am so shut – I can see it, however I have never really gone by way of the gates in 10 years, so clearly it could be good to be there once more.”

Previous to Monday, Krueger had by no means gained a Wimbledon qualifier – affectionately generally 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 loads 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 huge. I am excited to maintain the grasscourt season going.”

Krueger competed in the boys'  Singles competition at Wimbledon 2012.

Eligible Privileges

Most gamers qualify for the Grand Slam by their rating positions, however as much as eight areas in every lottery are reserved for general playing cards – determined by match organizers – and 16 are within the playoffs, that means these with an excellent rank exterior the highest 100 have Unlikely alternative. The Grand Slam glory.

Till final yr, no participant within the playoffs had gained a Grand Slam title. However Emma Radocano’s victory over Leila Fernandez Within the US Open closing, he spawned one among tennis’ most well-known tales, because the 18-year-old triumphed with out dropping a set throughout the course.

Even progressing by way of qualification shouldn’t be straightforward. 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 principle draw.

says Krueger, who first certified for the principle attract one of many main tournaments on the 2018 US Open.

“You will have three robust matches underneath your belt, whereas the others will include nothing. When you can deal with it bodily, with the ability to qualify is unquestionably a bonus.”

Success in qualification may 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 succeed in the primary spherical of the principle draw for a one-time cost of £ pound. 50,000 (about $61,000).

‘A dream come true’

On this yr’s Wimbledon qualifiers, some stadiums are outfitted with non permanent stands, whereas in others, spectators can occupy a viewing website meters from the occasion, creating an intimate ambiance for the gamers.

It may well take time to adapt to enjoying situations – particularly for these with restricted grasscourt expertise. Swiss Alexander Richard, ranked 192nd on the earth, is competing in his second championship on grass.

“It’s totally totally different. I am not used to it in any respect,” Richard instructed CNN Sport after his 4-6 6-1 6-2 win over Britain’s Stuart Parker. “However it’s positively 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 normally do on different courts.

“I am additionally stunned that whereas it is type of quick, it is type of gradual,” he provides. “I can not try this but – I am engaged on it.”

Richard plays a forehand during the first round of Wimbledon qualifiers.

Richard by no means performed in the principle draw at a significant match, however he got here near collaborating on this yr’s French Open when he misplaced within the third spherical of qualifying. He says it could be “very particular” to go to Wimbledon.

“This could positively be a dream come true,” he says. “Rising up, you at all times speak about Wimbledon once I was a child.

“I might additionally prefer to play on the principle website – that will 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.”

Rank factors

Among the gamers competing within the qualifiers have already graced the Wimbledon foremost stage. Ukraine’s Daria Snegur gained the women’ singles title at Middle Courtroom three years in the past and is now seeking to compete in her first main match.

“I like the grass courts,” she instructed CNN Sport after successful her opening recreation within the playoffs. “That is my favourite spot…and the grass is my favourite floor. In fact, I need to play in the principle draw.”

Snigour performs in Roehampton with the Ukrainian flag hanging on her tennis set and fascinated about her homeland is near her coronary heart.

Russian and Belarusian gamers Banned from Wimbledon this yr – step her Proved to trigger division amongst gamers ATP and WTA Excursions responded by stripping the match of all rating factors.

Snigur is behind Wimbledon’s choice to exclude Russians and Belarusians, which she says is “essential” to her as a Ukrainian: “For me, it would not matter – with or with out factors,” she provides.

Snigur defeated Suzan Lamens in her opening qualifying match in Roehampton.

The removing of rating factors from this yr’s Wimbledon didn’t stop gamers from competing within the match, which can embrace 9 of the highest 10 gamers within the girls’s rankings and 7 of the highest 10 within the males’s. The 4 absent resulting from harm and the exclusion of the gamers of Russia and Belarus.

The match has the added incentive of extra prize cash – the entire purse is simply over £40 million ($49 million), a 15.2% improve on final yr – however the status of the competitors at Wimbledon can be an attraction – those that play Within the playoffs absolutely acquainted.

For some, simply standing on manicured lawns for a championship is the success of long-standing goals.

“At Wimbledon, Wimbledon is at all times going to be particular it doesn’t matter what occurs,” Krueger says. “Enjoying in the principle group at Wimbledon is everybody’s purpose – it would not matter if there are factors or not.”