|Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 17-25 June|
|Coverage: Live coverage on BBC Two and streaming on the BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries|
Andy Murray says there is no need to “overreact” after his return to Queen’s fell flat when a 10-match winning streak on the British grass courts was ended by Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
Former world number one Murray lost 6-3 6-1 and his hopes of earning a seeding for Wimbledon are all but over.
“I don’t want to overanalyse,” said 36-year-old Murray, who won titles in Surbiton and Nottingham before Queen’s.
“It’s easy to overreact. I lost to a good player.”
Murray said he knows there are things he can do better but he can also take positives from his good grass-court form in the past few weeks.
“It’s obviously not the same level of opponents, but I won Nottingham last week without dropping a set. I only lost one set in Surbiton,” he said.
“I was holding serve very comfortably, moving well, hitting the ball good. There are a lot of positive signs there.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Spanish top seed Carlos Alcaraz earlier came through a tricky test to win on his debut at the Cinch Championships.
Alcaraz, 20, recovered against French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech to win 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in the first round.
British number five Liam Broady, ranked 143rd, lost 1-6 6-4 6-3 to France’s world number 46 Adrian Mannarino.
Broady looked on course for his best win by ranking of the season before the experienced Mannarino fought back.
In contrast to Alcaraz, Danish second seed Holger Rune had a smoother start to his grass-court season with a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3) win over American world number 42 Maxime Cressy.
Rune, 20, will face British wildcard Ryan Peniston, who beat the Dane at Eastbourne last year, next.
Flat performance sees Murray lose hope of Wimbledon seeding
Fresh from winning the back-to-back ATP Challenger titles in Surbiton and Nottingham, Murray was aiming for another run at the place where he is a record five-time singles champion.
More significantly, the Scot was looking to reach at least the quarter-finals and boost his chances of being seeded at Wimbledon, which starts on 3 July.
Being ranked among the top 32 players at a Grand Slam – and in theory avoiding tougher opponents until the third round – has been one of Murray’s key targets this year.
But this defeat means the three-time major champion will remain unseeded at the All England Club, barring the unlikely event of a host of withdrawals from rivals above him in the rankings, and now faces the prospect of meeting a higher-ranked player early on.
On whether the issue played on his mind before facing De Minaur, Murray said: “I have been thinking about for the last few weeks.
“It was not any different today, I knew what the situation was going into the grass season.
“I dealt with it fine the last two weeks. I don’t think it had any bearing on how I played today.”
Playing seventh seed De Minaur at Queen’s – a Tour-level tournament with a higher quality field – was always going to be a considerable step up in class for the world number 38.
Murray, looking laboured and showing his exasperation from midway through the opening set, struggled against an opponent who uses the pace of the grass court and sharp movement to good effect.
After threatening an early break in a confident start, Murray quickly lost his way. He lost serve twice as the first set swung away from him, with the mood of the Briton and the crowd turning flat.
Murray could not revive the atmosphere or regain his level, and the aggressive De Minaur used the momentum to win the final five games of the match.
“I felt OK going into the match, I just didn’t play very well,” concluded Murray, who said it was unlikely he will play Eastbourne next week.
I’ll keep improving on grass, warns Alcaraz
While Alcaraz has already won a Grand Slam title, topped the world rankings and been one of the dominant players on the ATP Tour this year, the Spaniard is still inexperienced on grass courts.
The US Open champion and recent French Open semi-finalist is playing only the third grass-court event of his senior career.
He had only ever played at Wimbledon in 2021 and 2022 before facing Rinderknech, who was a late replacement for the injured Arthur Fils.
Before his opening match at Queen’s Alcaraz spoke about needing to improve his movement on the surface, but also believed his all-round game – aggression from the baseline, complemented by deft hand skills at the net – could lead to success in London this summer.
Initially Alcaraz struggled for fluency as Rinderknech’s powerful serve and groundstrokes caused him issues.
But his movement improved as the match wore on, allowing him to show flashes of his undoubted shot-making ability.
“It was really difficult for me at the beginning to adapt my tennis and my game to the grass,” said Alcaraz, who will play Jiri Lehecka in the second round after the Czech beat Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.
“It has been a good start for me. I feel really good but I will be better in the next round.”