Watch List: Nadal turns to grass in Stuttgart, Bouchard looks to find form
The Watch List highlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. Following two weeks in Paris on clay at the French Open, the men and women turn to the grass court lead up tournaments this week to prepare for Wimbledon at the end of the month. Rafael Nadal leads the field as the top seed in Stuttgart, while Eugenie Bouchard and Ivo Karlovic top the field in 's-Hertogenbosch and Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest ranked player in the WTA's inaugural International-level event in Nottingham.
Mercedes Cup (Stuttgart, Germany)
Getting his feet on the grass as soon as possible isn't a new scheduling choice for Rafael Nadal. How many times have we seen him practicing in Halle or Queen's Club less than 24 hours after hoisting one of his nine French Open trophies? This year he got a few days rest after losing in the quarterfinals in Paris, but he's back on grass as the top seed in Stuttgart this week.
The expanded three week break between the French Open and Wimbledon means most players will take an extra week off after Paris, but Stuttgart has a solid field. In addition to Nadal, Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez and Gael Monfils top the field, with Dominic Thiem and Bernard Tomic also in the draw.
This week also marks the return of Tommy Haas. The 37-year-old German has not played in a year after undergoing shoulder surgery after the French Open 12 months ago.
Topshelf Open (s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands)
Eugenie Bouchard and Ivo Karlovic top the women's and men's draw in Rosmalen, which has moved up in the calendar from being one of the last grass lead-up tournaments to the first. Also in the women's draw are Jelena Jankovic, defending champion CoCo Vandeweghe and Belinda Bencic. David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez round out the top four seeds for the men.
Bouchard took last-minute wildcards into a series of grass tournaments before Wimbledon, an understandable decision given her form. She's lost eight of her last nine matches and has dropped out of the Top 10 at No. 11. In a rare move, she's also playing doubles this week, paired up with Lesia Tsurenko. She needs as much time as she can get on court to find her rhythm on grass.
Aegon Open (Nottingham, England)
Agnieszka Radwanska, now down to No. 14 in the rankings, took a wildcard into the inaugural WTA International-level event in Nottingham this week. She's the highest ranked player in the field by a good margin, with No. 32 Zarina Diyas seeded second. This is a good opportunity for Radwanska take a step towards finding her best form again. She's in the midst of a prolonged slump and match wins of any kind would be a boost.
That said, this isn't the first time Radwanska has played down to an International-level tournament and come up empty. She played her home tournament in Poland this spring and lost before the finals. Another run like that in Nottingham and the tailspin could worsen.