The story of the 2023 grass court season
• 4 MINUTE READ
That’s a wrap for another British grass court season – and what an incredible couple of months it has been.
As one of the most exciting grass court swings in recent memory comes to a close, let’s look back on some of the biggest highlights, British triumphs and most memorable moments from the last six weeks.
Murray & Swan shine at Surbiton
Where better place to start than at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy, where the Brits got off to a flying start on home soil.
Four British women made it through to the quarter-finals for only the second time in history. Amongst them was 16-year-old Isabelle Lacy, who also recorded her first top 100 win in the opening round against Madison Brengle.
Lacy was also joined by 24-year-old Katie Swan, who would eventually go on to make the final after beating the top seed Maria Tatjana and then fellow Brit Lily Miyazaki. However, Swan finished runner-up to Yanina Wickmayer after losing 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1).
On the men’s side, the Brits took both the singles and doubles titles. Andy Murray’s much anticipated return was met with silverware as he beat Jurij Rodionov 6-3, 6-2 to become the oldest player to win an ATP Challenger title on grass at 36.
Brits steal the show in Nottingham
British stars won three of the four titles on offer at the Rothesay Open Nottingham. Starting off with the women’s singles – where once again there were four British quarter-finalists – but it was Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage who shone the brightest. The British No.1 and No.2 both progressed to their first WTA final, with Boulter eventually sealing her home title with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
On the men’s side, their were first career ATP Challenger wins for Arthur Fery and quarter-finalist George Loffhagen, but once again it was Murray who triumphed, clinching back-to-back titles with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Arthur Cazaux, extending his unbeaten run on the grass.
During his winners speech, Murray was surprised to see his whole family in attendance. “Oh my god, I didn’t know they were here!" Murray said in shock. "I had no idea they were coming. They’re all here – thanks guys!
"My family have been unbelievably supportive and have continued to be throughout my career. I really appreciate them supporting me and telling me to keep going."
British wild cards Johannus Monday and Jacob Fearnley were the surprise package of the men’s doubles – beating Broady and O’Mara in the final 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-7 – while Harriet Dart and Heather Watson came runners-up in the WTA event.
A new king of grass; Ostapenko lifts second title on British soil
Starting at the Queen’s Club where the British fans got to see British No. Cam Norrie reach the quarter-finals, before baring witness to history as 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won his first career title on grass, taking him back to world No.1. Just a few weeks later and Alcaraz would go on to become the first player since Andy Murray in 2016 and only the eighth play in history to complete the Queen’s, Wimbledon double.
There was British success to come at the cinch Championships however, as Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid won their first doubles title together at the Queen’s Club, before Hewett finished runner-up in the singles to Joachim Gerard.
Cue even more fireworks at the Rothesay Classic Birmingham as Dart beat world No.26, Anhelina Kalinina for the second time in two weeks to make her way to consecutive WTA quarter-finals. However, it was the top two seeds who stole the show, with Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko went head-to-head for the Maud Watson trophy. No stranger to success on grass as a former Eastbourne champion, Ostapenko went on to like her second title on British soil with a 7-6(8), 6-4 win.
Rounding off an action-packed week, Britain's Sonay Kartal and Charles Broom enjoyed good runs at the Lexus Ilkley Trophy - reaching the semi-final and quarter-final respectively - but it was Mirjam Bjorklund and Jason Kubler who claimed the singles titles.
Keys & Cerundolo seal seaside success
Tennis headed down to the South Coast next for the biggest combined WTA and ATP event on grass outside of Wimbledon – the Rothesay International Eastbourne.
A star-studded line-up that saw many of the world’s biggest players compete – including Ons Jabeur, Caroline Garcia and Coco Gauff – would eventually close with 2014 champion Maddison Keys lifting the trophy for the second time in her career. Keys defeated ninth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 7-6(13) in the final.
On the men’s side, the tournament was thrown wide open with top seed and reigning champion Taylor Fritz exiting in the first round. On finals day however, it was Francisco Cerundolo who would end the week as champion, not only finishing his semi-final but then closing out the title with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over second seed Tommy Paul all in the same day!
In Eastbourne’s wheelchair events, world No.1 Diede De Groot cleaned up in the women’s singles and doubles with Jiske Griffioen, while Andy Lapthorne won his third singles title of the season.
British champions at Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon as ever, threw up a huge number of storylines this year – not least our four British champions – Neal Skupski, Henry Searle, Hewett and Reid.
Coming in as the top seeds in the men’s doubles, Skupski and Wesley Koolhof went on to win their first Grand Slam title together as a duo in emphatic style. The British, Dutch team, dominated en route to the title and completed tehir maiden Slam with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos.
History was made in the Boys’ singles as 17-year-old Searle from Wolverhampton became only the seventh British player to win the title and the first to do so since 1962. Searle proved to be imperious at SW19 and failed to lose a single set as he knocked out the first, fourth, fifth and eighth seeds in his journey to victory.
Speaking of records, Hewett and Reid now boast an incredible 18 Grand Slam doubles titles together and after claiming their fifth victory at Wimbledon as a pairing. Hewett also went on to make his second successive singles final, but once again came runner-up, this time to world No.1 Tokito Oda.
Staying with the doubles success, Britain’s Isabelle Lacy and Hannah Klugman also finished the Wimbledon fortnight as runners-up in the Girls’ doubles event.
Meanwhile, Alcaraz reigned supreme in the men's singles - winning his second Grand Slam title in a five-set thriller against Novak Djokovic - and unseeded Marketa Vondrousova defeated Ons Jabeur in the women's singles final.