Roehampton | Willis gets off to a good start

The underdog who carved himself into Wimbledon history by coming through six matches via pre-qualifying and then qualifying itself to reach the main draw where he succeeded in reaching the second round to give Roger Federer a more than reasonable match.

I’m not putting any pressure on myself. It feels different to last year. I’m happy to be here again but after what I did last year doing less could be disappointing Marcus Willis

The plucky Brit was Marcus Willis who was then ranked in the 700s but has now raised himself up to 387 and was hoping that he would receive a wildcard into Wimbledon this year in acknowledgement of his achievements. Unfortunately that was not forthcoming but he did get one for the qualifying event and is on course to repeat his run of 12 months ago.

In his first qualifying round the 26-year-old from Slough, defeated Slovakia’s Andrej Martin a player ranked 241 places above him and in front of the new temporary stand with some 150 spectators, ran out an impressive 7-5 7-5 winner.

He required 25 minutes to claim the first set breaking his opponent in the 11th game and played out a similar scenario in the second serving out for the match to love.

The victory set up an all-British clash in the second qualifying round with Liam Broady, who beat Canadian Frank Dancevic 6-2 6-3. The winner of that showdown will then face one further qualifying match to reach the Championships, which begin next Monday.

“I’m happy to get the win,” said Willis afterwards. “It’s great having a home crowd and people cheering for you.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself. It feels different to last year. I’m happy to be here again but after what I did last year doing less could be disappointing. I was disappointed not to get a wildcard but I’m determined to get through.

“I’ve played Liam a few times, I’ve won a few and lost a few. He’s a very good player. I know what he is going to bring and he knows what I am going to bring. It will be a chess match tomorrow.”






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