5 sporting events to whet the appetite this summer…excluding the Olympics!
You’d have to be a blind Martian not to realise that the Olympic Games are coming to London in a few months time. Of course, while the capital will no doubt be the centre of attention for sports fans during July and August, there are a number of other fascinating events which look likely to also captivate the hearts and minds of us Brits. Quidblog takes a look…
11th – 17th June
126 years old but still going strong, London’s Queen’s Club continues to attract the pick of the men’s singles and doubles players for the first major grass court tournaments of the season.
The likes of McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Lendl, Cash and Sampras have all graced its courts and secured noteworthy successes. Indeed on nine separate occasions the winner at Queen’s has gone on to lift the trophy at Wimbledon in the same year, a feat last achieved in 2008 by Rafael Nadal.
Having won the tournament for the third time in his career in 2011, Andy Murray has committed to playing at Queen’s for the next five years and with that all elusive Grand Slam title still evading him he’ll be looking to build his confidence up ahead of another shot at Wimbledon glory.
25th June – 8th July
Talking of the All England Club, it has an even busier summer ahead than usual. While thousands of tennis lovers will make their annual pilgrimage through its glorious green gates in June and July to indulge in strawberries, cream and memories of epic Tim Henman failures, three weeks later the famous courts of SW19 will also play host to the Olympic tennis tournament.
It remains to be seen how the hosepipe ban and hectic schedule will affect the manicured playing surface. However, one thing remains certain; there is sure to be drama. World number one Novak Djokovic remains the man to beat, although Rafael Nadal (knees permitting), Andy Murray and Roger Federer will no doubt be chomping at the bit.
27th June – 1st July
After the controversy and drama of this year’s Boat Race, you can be sure that even those with only a passing interest in rowing will want to have their eyes on Henley Regatta.
A long-standing part of the English social season, the country’s most famous boating competition has always attracted the sport’s most prestigious athletes, as well as being a real draw for those looking to party down by the river. While the traditional Stewards and Regatta enclosures maintain strict dress rules and codes of conduct, a new breed of corporate and ‘trendy’ hospitality has swept into the Oxfordshire town looking to spice up things up a bit.
The chances are once you’re done gawping at the strapping international crews in their tight lycra, you’ll be well placed to grab a Pimm’s and dance as the sun goes down.
8th June – 1st July
After the debacle of the World Cup in South Africa, England’s football fans should be cautious about getting caught up in any media hype ahead of Euro 2012. Still without a manager after Fabio Capello’s departure, John Terry stripped of the captaincy, Wayne Rooney banned for the first two games, Jack Wilshere injured all year and a history of failure on the big stage…you’d be mad to think the Three Lions could end their long-standing trophy drought in Poland and the Ukraine.
Of course, with St George’s flag in hand, we all know that’s easier said than done. First up the boys in red and white face France, before taking on Sweden and Ukraine. Will they be able to better their semi-final appearance of 1996? Given the quality of Spain, Holland and Germany it’s going to be a tall order.
15th July – 22nd July
The Open Championship, or simply The Open, is not just the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf, it’s arguably the most prestigious.
First played in 1860 the field is open to 156 participants chasing not just a slice of the £5 million prize money, but also the famed Claret Jug. Won by an emotional Darren Clarke last year at Royal St George’s it returns to Royal Lytham & St Ann’s Golf Club for the tenth time since 1926.
Amazingly the only Brit to win on the Lancashire course has been Tony Jacklin in 1969, although with a strong contingent from these shores, including Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, vying for the 2012 title you wouldn’t bet against that changing.
Which sporting events are you looking forward to this summer? Do you think England can win 2012? Who are your favourites for the other tournaments? Let us know in the comments section below.