Goran Faces Stich In Queen's Club Exhibition
By Tennis Week
Next month's Stella Artois Championships features even of the world's top 10 players and now the Queen's Club grass-court tournament is assured of hosting a showdown between Wimbledon winners on the final Sunday. Former Wimbledon champions Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Stich will face off for the first time on grass when they meet in a special challenge exhibition following the Stella Artois singles and doubles final on Sunday, June 18.
The 37-year-old Stich burst onto the scene in 1991, beating Stefan Edberg in the Wimbledon semifinals and Boris Becker in the final to capture his lone career Grand Slam. Stich's explosive serve, stylish one-handed backhand and sound volleys carried him to the 1994 U.S. Open final where he lost to Andre Agassi and the 1996 French Open final where he fell to Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Stich also won the gold medal in doubles in the Barcelona Olympic Games.
A decade after Stich's Wimbledon triumph, Ivanisevic made a memorable run to the Wimbledon title as a wild card. Playing the final on "the people's Monday" Ivanisevic edged Australia's Patrick Rafter before a raucous and wildly appreciative crowd in the final.
Both Ivanisevic and Stich were regular visitors to the Stella Artois during their careers. Stich won the title in 1993, beating Wayne Ferreira in the final, while Ivanisevic was a runner-up to Mark Philippoussis in 1997. In their careers they played each other seven times, with Stich leading 5-2, including victory in all five of their most recent encounters. They have never previously met on grass.
The 2006 Stella Artois Championships, which will be staged June 12-18, will boast its strongest ever field, with World No.2 Rafael Nadal making his first appearance. He will be joined by fellow top-ten players Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Gonzalez and Lleyton Hewitt as well as former World No.1 Andre Agassi, if the sciatic nerve in his back and his sore hip permit him to play, and British trio Andy Murray, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman.
For further information about the Stella Artois Championships, please visit www.stellaartoistennis.com