Andy Murray will be announced this Thursday as the first British tennis player to qualify for the Olympic Games team, a fait accompli for the world No4, who is a medal contender. But for the rest of Britain's hopefuls, the next 11 days will be filled more with anxiety than expectation.
Next month's Games, at which tennis will be played at Wimbledon, has been looming larger with every passing week but now is the worst period of all as they wait to learn if they have done enough to earn a place in the 28 June list.
Last Monday was the cut-off date to meet the first criteria for automatic selection, a place in the world's top 56 for singles players and in the top 24 pairs for doubles. On that basis, the only guarantees are that Murray will play singles and he and his brother Jamie will play in the men's doubles. The rest will be hoping either to sneak in as a direct entrant or, as seems more likely, having to rely on being given a wildcard.
Each country can have only six men and six women in the Games, with a maximum of four singles players and two doubles pairs, so Anne Keothavong, Elena Baltacha, Heather Watson, Laura Robson, James Ward and perhaps even Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins will have to rely on the generosity of the International Tennis Federation if they are to be playing for medals.
Fleming and Hutchins, who were the last Britons to exit the Aegon Championships here on Friday night, are on the cusp of automatic qualification but the process is so complicated that even though Hutchins' father, Paul, is on the board that will help decide the wildcards, no one is the wiser. "He doesn't really know any more than I know," Ross said. "We just know previous cuts from previous years and we've no idea if there are wildcards available, if we don't make the cut. We think we'll be either just in, or just out. I don't know any more than you'd know."
Both Fleming and Hutchins had to take some time off over the past two months because of respective knee and wrist injuries and Scotland's Fleming admitted that the past few weeks have been nerve-racking. "That's the tough thing about being injured," he said. "We had to sit and watch the rankings go up and down. But what can you do, hope we get in one way or another and then be ready for it."
As women's No1, Keothavong is the most likely to win a wildcard into the singles event but Britain may not receive more than one, which would be harsh on Baltacha, who topped the British rankings for the best part of three years until last Monday.
The LTA and Judy Murray, the Fed Cup captain, have lobbied the ITF for two wildcards but nothing is certain. "We have done all the lobbying we can but you never know," the LTA chief executive, Roger Draper, said.
Sunday's final at Queen's Club will be between Marin Cilic of Croatia, the world No25, and the former Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian. In gusty conditions, Cilic beat the former champion Sam Querrey 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, while Nalbandian used all his experience to end the run of Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4.
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