The Hologic WTA Tour kicks off the grass season next week with seven tournaments across Great Britain, Germany, and The Netherlands. After six WTA events played across three weeks, it all leads to the third Grand Slam of the year at Wimbledon.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming grass season:

What makes grass-court tennis unique?

Modern tennis was invented in the late 1800s in England and played on grass courts. Wimbledon is the oldest and most historic of the four Grand Slams. It was staged for the first time in 1877 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

For those reasons, grass-court tennis is considered by many to be the purest, most traditional form of the modern game. The soft, natural surface yields a lower bounce, which can mute the effects of high-kicking topspin. The irregular bounces can wreak havoc on a baseliner’s rhythm and precision. It also requires more delicate footwork around the court because players can lose traction with sudden stops and starts.

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And because the natural surface wears down with each match, the wear and tear on the court can alter the surface as each day goes by. Because of the potential for irregular and awkward bounces, grass rewards a more aggressive game style that creates short points. It favors players with big serves, flat groundstrokes and good skills at the net.

That’s a lot of variables to manage for a player in the best of circumstances, but the change is even more drastic coming straight after the clay season. With just three weeks of tournaments before Wimbledon — and a scarcity of tournament-grade grass courts on which to practice — much of the grass season is a race against time to get in as many matches and practices as you can.

What constitutes the five-week grass season?

Week of June 10

Libema Open, ‘S-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (WTA 250)

Venue: Autotron Rosmalen
Main Draw begins: Monday, June 10
Singles Final: Sunday, June 16, 2:30 p.m.

Last year’s final: Ekaterina Alexandrova d. Veronika Kudermetova, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3)

Osaka set to make her Dutch debut: This year’s ‘S-Hertogenbosch tournament got a big boost when former No.1 Naomi Osaka accepted a wild card into the event to start her grass season. It will be Osaka’s first grass event in five years. She’s joined by No.5 Jessica Pegula, who has not played since April due to injury. Two-time champion Ekaterina Alexandrova, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Navarro are also entered.

Click here for the full entry list.

Rothesay Open, Nottingham, Great Britain (WTA 250)

Venue: Nottingham Tennis Center
Main Draw begins: Monday, June 10
Singles Final: Sunday, June 16

Last year’s final:  Katie Boulter d. Jodie Burrage, 6-3, 6-3

Jabeur, Raducanu headline Nottingham: Two-time Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur headlines the entry list in Nottingham. The Tunisian has won two grass-court titles, first at 2021 Birmingham and then 2022 Berlin. She’s joined by Grand Slam champions Emma Navarro, Barbora Krejcikova and Sofia Kenin.

Click here for the full entry list.

Week of June 17

Berlin Ladies Open, Berlin, Germany (WTA 500)

Venue: Lawn Tennis Tournament Club “Rot-Weiss” eV
Main Draw begins: Monday, June 17
Singles Final: Sunday, June 23, 12 p.m.

Last year’s final: Petra Kvitova d. Donna Vekic, 6-2, 7-6(6)

Everyone is headed to Berlin: World No.1 Iga Swiatek leads nine of the Top 10 in a stacked entry list in Berlin, the first WTA 500 of the grass season. Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Pegula and reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova are all in the mix, with wild cards going to Osaka and former No.1 Angelique Kerber. The competition should be fierce from Day 1.

Click here for the full entry list.

UPDATE: After winning Roland Garros, Swiatek withdrew from Berlin.

Champions Reel: How Jelena Ostapenko won Birmingham 2023

Rothesay Classic, Birmingham, Great Britain (WTA 250)

Venue: Edgbaston Priory Club
Main Draw begins: Monday, June 17
Singles Final: Sunday, June 23

Last year’s final: Jelena Ostapenko d. Barbora Krejcikova, 7-6(8), 6-4

Ostapenko returns to defend her title: Jelena Ostapenko tops the entry list in Birmingham, which includes Krejcikova, British top player Katie Boulter, and 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva. Former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki has accepted a wild card into the tournament, marking her first grass-court tournament since 2019.

Click here for the full entry list.

Week of June 23

Tennis Open, London, United Kingdom (WTA 500)

Venue: TC Bad Homburg
Main Draw begins: Sunday, June 23
Singles Final: Saturday, June 29, 1:30 p.m.

Last year’s final: Katerina Siniakova d. Lucia Bronzetti, 6-2, 7-6(5)

Vondrousova and Sakkari top the field: The Czech has entered Bad Homburg to get one final tuneup before her title defense at Wimbledon. It’s a great opportunity for points as well, as Bad Homburg has been upgraded to a WTA 500 this year.

Rothesay International, Eastbourne, Great Britain (WTA 500)

Venue: Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club
Main Draw begins: Monday, June 24
Singles Final: Saturday, June 29, 12:30 p.m.

Last year’s final: Madison Keys d. Daria Kasatkina, 6-2, 7-6(13)

Americans lead the action at Devonshire Park: Jessica Pegula, Danielle Collins and defending champion Madison Keys are headed to the seaside for their last events before Wimbledon. Boulter and Raducanu lead the home hopes.

Champions Reel: How Madison Keys won Eastbourne 2023

Week of July 1

The Championships, Wimbledon, Great Britain (Grand Slam)

Venue: All England Lawn Tennis Club
Draw Ceremony: Friday, June 28, 10 a.m.
Main Draw begins: Monday, July 1
Singles Final: Saturday, July 13, 2 p.m.
Doubles Final: Sunday, July 14, following ATP singles final

Last year’s final: Marketa Vondrousova d. Ons Jabeur, 6-4, 6-4

Who are the WTA Tour’s best grass-court players?

Only five active players have won more than two grass-court titles in their career: Venus Williams (5), Petra Kvitova (6), Angelique Kerber (3), Caroline Garcia (3), and Karolina Pliskova (3).

Among active players, Eastbourne’s defending champion Madison Keys has an outstanding 75 percent win rate on grass, though, ironically, Wimbledon remains the only major at which she has not made the semifinals or better.

Not surprisingly, Wimbledon champions Rybakina and Kerber thrive on the surface, as does two-time Wimbledon finalist Jabeur.

Watch this: Jabeur hits two perfect tweeners en route to Berlin semis

Career winning percentage – Grass (Active Players)

1. Madison Keys: 75.0% (44-14)
2. Elena Rybakina: 74.2% (23-8)
3. Angelique Kerber: 73.0% (84-31)
4. Our Jabeur: 72.3% (34-13)
5. Jelena Ostapenko: 70.3% (45-19)

Experience and success on grass varies greatly among the members of the current Top 10. World No.1 Iga Swiatek hasn’t played 20 grass-court matches in her career. She’s played more than 20 matches on clay this season alone. Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen is still in single digits.

But maybe experience is overrated. Just ask reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova. Even with her 7-0 run at the All England Club last year, she’s still batting just .500 on the turf.

Current Top 10: Winning percentage – Grass

1. Iga Swiatek: 68.4% (13-6)
2. Aryna Sabalenka: 62.8% (27-16)
3. Coco Gauff: 66.7% (16-8)
4. Elena Rybakina: 74.2% (23-8)
5. Jessica Pegula: 57.1% (12-9)
6. Marketa Vondrousova: 50.0% (11-11)
7. Maria Sakkari: 55.0% (22-18)
8. Zheng Qinwen: 25.0% (2-6)
9. Ons Jabeur: 72.3% (34-13)
10. Danielle Collins: 42.9% (6-8)


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