Wimbledon Day 2 | Ward and Klein find it tough
James Ward has admitted he still had a long road ahead as his comeback struggle continued at Wimbledon. Ward lost 6-4 6-4 6-3 to former SW19 semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis, his fifth defeat in a row – in straight sets – since returning from a ninth-month injury hell.
And then now I'm at a stage where I'm not completely 100% pain-free, but I don't know if I ever will be. So that's what I maybe have to live with James Ward
He said: “I have come a long road. There were times I never knew if I was going to play tennis again. I was in the gym every day rehabbing with a physio. And it was tough, because you just don’t know when it’s going to get better. You see very small improvements.
“Sometimes you go backwards. And then now I’m at a stage where I’m not completely 100% pain-free, but I don’t know if I ever will be. So that’s what I maybe have to live with.
“A lot of players play with pain every day anyway of different sorts. It’s something I have got to manage. That’s why I have a physio with me all the time to help that.
“That’s the main thing at the moment, just to try and stay healthy and play as many tournaments I can till the end of the year. Maybe set a goal of maybe making Aussie qualies next year and see how it ends up.”
But the match was closer than it appeared.
Ward said: “I was definitely in the sets here. Just looked at the stats and there was eight points difference through the match over three sets. Not that much.
“We both started off serving really well, didn’t really give each other too many chances. And then it was — the second one or two points in it. That carried on till the second set. Third set was a bit more, a couple of chances, two sniffs at Love-30, one game in the second, one in the third.”
But Brit Brydan Klein’s summer got worse. A verbal outburst – in which he called an umpire “you stupid, stupid person”, effectively cost him the match against Sam Groth at Nottingham recently. And it also earned him a £3,500 fine. It all followed punishment for ball abuse and ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’.
Yet any hopes of an upward turn in the 27-year-old’s fortunes on grass this summer crashed to earth as he lost 7-6 6-3 6-0 to Yuichi Sugita of Japan.