Paul Adds His Name To Other American Greats In Winning Queen’s Club Title

Tommy Paul (photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, June 23, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

Tommy Paul has become a great historian of the sport of tennis, thanks to a nudge from his coach Brad Stine. So, it was not lost on Paul, when he stood tall to receive the champion’s trophy awarded to the winner of the 53rd edition of the ATP 500 cinch Championships at Queen’s Club in West London Sunday afternoon, that his name would join a trio of American greats who came before him since the beginning of the Open Era: Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

“It means everything,” the fifth-seeded Paul said after he defeated Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, 6-1, 7-6 (8), in an hour and 28 minutes Sunday afternoon for his first career title on grass and third tour-level crown overall.

“Going through the hallways here and in the locker room, the names on the walls are unbelievable. It was my goal always to put my name next to them. Thank you to my whole team.”

Paul, the only seed remaining, came ready to make some history of his own against the No. 30 Musetti. He raced to a double-break 5-1 lead in the opening set, then recovered after he was unable to successfully serve out the victory at 5-4 in the second set.

During a second-set tie-break, Paul roared back from 1-4 down and saved a set point at 6-7. Finally, the 27-year-old American born in New Jersey won on his third championship point to garner his second ATP Tour title of the season and it was Musetti’s first title loss in his third final.

Paul hit six aces, won 77 percent of his first serves, struck 17 winners to just six unforced errors and outpointed Musetti 69-56. Musetti countered with 24 winners to 10 unforced errors, but it was not good enough to beat Paul.

“I want to congratulate Lorenzo on a good week,” Paul said during the trophy ceremony. “He’s been playing amazing tennis. I’m happy to get the win today. I’m happy to share the court with you.”

With his 27th victory of the season in the books – and with the Wimbledon Championships just a week away – Paul has ensured he will become the new American No. 1 for the first time on Monday. He will move ahead of his friend and competitor Taylor Fritz to become No. 12 in the PIF ATP Rankings. Fritz will drop to No. 13, one spot ahead of fellow American Ben Shelton. American Sebastian Korda, whom Paul beat in Saturday’s semifinals, will rise to No. 20 – making four Americans in the ATP Tour Top 20.

Looking back, Paul dropped only one set at Queen’s Club this week, against British No. 1 Jack Draper in Friday’s quarterfinal round. En route to his first ATP 500 crown, Paul defeated No. 19 Sebastian Baez of Argentina, No. 24 Alejandro Tabilo of Chile, No. 31 Draper, No. 23 Korda and Musetti.

“This is the perfect way to go to Wimbledon,” Paul said.

Skupski and Venus win first doubles title together

Seventh seeds Neal Skupski of Great Britain and Michael Venus of New Zealand won their first doubles title as a team after defeating singles stars Taylor Fritz of the United States and Karen Khachanov of Russia, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 10-8, in 77 minutes.

The British/Kiwi duo won 88 percent of their first-serve points and outpointed Fritz and Khachanov, who teamed this week for the first time, 69-67.

“It has been very special,” Skupski said during the trophy ceremony. “First time winning at Queen’s, first time winning with Mike. We went to University together and we go back a long way. We have never been able to play on Tour much together, so this was nice to play with him.”

En route to the title, Skupski, 34, and Venus, 36, beat No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram of the United States and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain in the quarterfinal round on Friday, then upset defending champions and this year’s fourth seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the United Sates in the United States in the semifinals on Saturday.

Skupski is the first British doubles titlist at Queen’s Club since Andy Murray teamed with Feliciano Lopez of Spain to win in 2019, while Venus is the first player from New Zealand to win the title in the Open Era.

By the numbers

Tommy Paul joins Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Ben Shelton as the only active male players to hold the position as United States No. 1 in their careers. He’s also the first American to win the Queen’s Club title since Sam Querrey in 2010.

“Quotable …”

“Definitely one of the nicest weeks of my career. I want to congratulate Tommy because he deserved to win. I was struggling to get to his level. I saved face a bit at the end with the break, fighting really hard to try to reach the third set. Congratulations to your whole team. I hope Tommy is soon going to reach the Top 10.”

Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, from his trophy ceremony speech after finishing runner-up to Tommy Paul.