Roehampton | Ward takes over Willis’ fairy tale mantle

Marcus Willis’s Wimbledon fairy tale came to an end on the courts of Roehampton when he failed to get past world No119 Illya Marchenko in the qualifying round for the main draw.

Yeah it’s true – I only just heard when I came off that he had lost. What a story that was. Let’s see what happens this year Alexander Ward

However, Britain’s Alexander Ward, the world No855 is set to pick up the baton as he qualified by upsetting Russia’s world No176 Teymurar Gabashvili 6-7(3) 6-47-6(6) 6-1.

Ward, the British No19, was delighted at his achievement having been side-lined last year for six months with a wrist injury and had lost in the pre-qualifying event.

On learning that Willis had failed in his bid to make the main darw for a second consecutive year, he said: “Yeah it’s true – I only just heard when I came off that he had lost. What a story that was. Let’s see what happens this year.”

Willis had struggled in his match with a knee injury as he lost 6-4 6-1 7-6.

Ward, a 27-year-old from Northampton and is now guaranteed £35,000 as a first round loser, was delighted that he was the only Briton to make the main draw this year.

“It feels incredible to be honest. I had never won a match in Wimbledon qualifying before this year. I had lost four times. It feels amazing, pretty unbelievable to be honest. I am still struggling to get my head round it,” he said.

And when asked if he would prefer a toughmatch like Roger Federer or a more winnable one, he added: “The way I am playing it would be great to have a shot at it.”

 






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