Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
Standing on opposing sides of the net, with a lopsided scoreline and a place in the second round of Wimbledon qualifying at stake, this was no place for brotherly banter.
There would be no fist pumps or screams of elation, no light-hearted grins up the other end at a big pass or an easy miss.
Only the occasional nod of approval and a “sorry” from big brother for a bad bounce on the fresh turf at the Bank of England Sports Ground at Roehampton.
Austrians Jurgen and Gerald Melzer are 10 years apart so had not prepared themselves for the mental challenge of crossing paths as opponents on tour.
And after dealing little brother, Gerald, a convincing 6-1, 6-4 defeat, former world No.8 Jurgen hoped this would be a one-off.
“It was not fun at all. The worst tennis day of my life and I hope we will never play each other again,” a dejected, yet victorious, Jurgen said after waiting for his brother to collect his bag so the two could leave the court together.
“The age gap was obviously very big so we hadn’t played against each other growing up. We have practised a lot together but never played each other before.”
A former French Open semi-finalist and still the only player to defeat Novak Djokovic from two sets down, Jurgen has battled with a shoulder injury and subsequent battle to rediscover form for much of the past year and a half, contributing to a rankings free-fall to No.131 in the world.
It’s always nice get the win but not under these circumstances and not against him
The back courts at Roehampton are not where the more decorated of the brothers is used to plying his trade.
Twice he has reached the fourth round at SW19 and he was the 1999 Junior Champion, the 2010 Gentlemen’s Doubles Champion with Philipp Petzschner and the 2011 Mixed Doubles Champion with his now wife Iveta Melzer (formerly Benesova).
“It’s actually a thing you don’t want to be here. You play a match, whoever wins wins and that’s it,” Jurgen said. “We are too close to really feel the need to compete against each other.
“Sure, it’s always nice get the W (win) but not under these circumstances and not against him.
“I’m happy I’m back playing, I’m happy I’m playing a little better than at the beginning of the season but we will forget about this day.”
It is the younger of the two left-handed brothers who has had the stronger start to the season, with a first ATP Tour semi-final in Munich coming on the back of a victory over their top-ranked countryman, Dominic Thiem.
Trailing 5-0 in a hurry in the first set, though, the glasses-wearing 24-year-old was staring down a bagel before finally holding serve.
Not the start to the grasscourt season he had in mind.
While broken at the beginning of set No.2, the world No.168 at least managed to stem the flow of breaks before his brother would close it out with a big serve down the T drawing the backhand error.
“We had a fun practice, we were both looking forward to playing the quallies and then the draw came out and we both weren’t happy about it, of course not,” Gerald said after the defeat. “It wasn’t fun out there today but what can you do? You can’t compare it to any other match.”