LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - World number six Tomas Berdych will play the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event at Queens Club in June as he targets a repeat of his 2010 run to the final at the grasscourt slam.
The Czech confirmed on Tuesday that he would take part in the London event, now called the Aegon Championships, in a bid to sharpen his grasscourt skills after the European clay season.
It will be Berdych’s first return to the club for eight years and comes on the advice of his new manager and former world number three Ivan Ljubicic.
“I think it could be a good advantage to be in London to get used to the conditions and to those great courts, and I think this is exactly what I need before Wimbledon,” Berdych, one of the most consistent players on tour last year, said in a statement from the organisers.
”Even though it’s a long time since I played there (at Queen‘s) I still remember that beautiful club very well. I have to say that I have never played on a better grass court than at The Queen’s Club.
“The experience of reaching the Wimbledon final was great. It showed me a lot of things - that I‘m able to play really well through two weeks, which is very tough,” added the 27-year-old, who lost to Rafa Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon final having beaten Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to get there.
Ljubicic reckoned Berdych would benefit from arriving in London earlier than usual.
“He only played Queen’s once before and I thought he should change that,” he said.
“Travelling is tiring. If a player stays in London and gets used to London grass - and the Queen’s Club courts are the closest to the courts at Wimbledon - it can only be a good thing. I think it’s the best preparation for Wimbledon.”
Berdych - beaten in the Dubai final last week by Djokovic - will be joined at Queen’s Club by Britain’s U.S. Open champion Andy Murray, who is also looking for his first Wimbledon title after reaching the final there last year against Federer.
He won the London Olympic gold medal against the Swiss on the same centre court weeks later. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows)