Fever-Tree Championships: Novak Djokovic to make Queen's return
|2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC|
|Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.|
Novak Djokovic will play at the Queen’s Club for the first time in eight years when the Fever-Tree Championships begin next week.
Djokovic said he may skip the grass court season after losing in the French Open quarter-final to Marco Cecchinato.
But the 12-time Grand Slam champion has now accepted a late wildcard for Queen’s, which means 17 of the world’s top 30 players will be in the draw.
He said it “will be great preparation for Wimbledon”, which begins on 2 July.
Djokovic last played at The Queen’s Club in 2010, winning the doubles title alongside Jonathan Erlich.
“The atmosphere is always great and I am looking forward to playing in front of the British crowd again,” added the three-time Wimbledon champion.
“Grass is very special, it is the rarest of surfaces so I’m happy I’ll have the opportunity to compete at this strong tournament, which will also be a great preparation for Wimbledon.”
Djokovic, 31, was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 7-6 (13-11) by Italy’s world number 72 Cecchinato in Paris last week.
An elbow injury has limited his playing time this year, while he was treated on his neck during the defeat by Cecchinato.
He has dropped to 22nd in the rankings, while his 20th seeding at Roland Garros was his lowest at a Slam since the 2006 US Open.
Djokovic back on UK grass – analysis
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
Even though Djokovic suggested he might give the grass a wide berth this year, those comments were issued in the heat of the moment, just minutes after walking off court at Roland Garros.
He was very much expected at Wimbledon, but his appearance at the Queen’s Club remains a coup for the LTA, and a reward for years of perseverance.
Djokovic clearly feels he needs matches – having played barely 20 times since last year’s Wimbledon – and will join a field which includes 17 of the world’s top 30, plus Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and potentially Andy Murray.
Maybe a pre-Wimbledon appearance in the UK is becoming a habit. Last year Djokovic played in Eastbourne in the week before Wimbledon – and won the title.