Wimbledon Day 6 | Willis and Clarke stun the champions
Marcus Willis, the £30-an-hour part-time tennis coach world-ranked 772, stunned Wimbledon when he made the second round of the singles last year. Played Roger Federer on Centre Court. And created the Willbomb Barmy Army.
“I don't really know how to explain that one. We played great. Crowd got behind us. I'm a bit speechless. Marcus Willis
Well the guy, who had been nicknamed Cartman, a big boned character in the cult cartoon South Park because of the timber he carried a few years ago, is at it again.
The 26-year-old and partner Jay Clarke, 18, shocked reigning champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 3-6 6-1 7-6 5-7 6-3 to reach the last 16 of the men’s doubles at a raucous No.3 Court with the Brits’ fan club in full voice.
The wild-card pair missed three match points in the fourth set after bouncing back from conceding the opener, but kept their cool, broke the French pair and sealed the victory.
Willis, who became a father to daughter Martha May in March, said: “I don’t really know how to explain that one. We played great. Crowd got behind us. I’m a bit speechless.
“We said before just to try and look after ourself and if we get chances then we will try to take them. Obviously, it would be great to get there against guys like this. Just look after our serves and look for chances if they come. That was it.”
Willis was asked if it was one of their best career wins. He smiled: “It’s our second tournament together, so probably. That was awesome really, especially the way we came out in the fifth and kept going. We had three match points. Didn’t do a lot wrong but it’s easy to let your heads drop and we fought really hard.”
Expectations? He laughed: “Expectations were to lose probably, but I knew we could get close. If we rack up the games on our serve, anything can happen. We took a few risks, paid off. Played really well.”
Whipping up the crowd? Willis said: “I don’t actually recollect. Probably a natural thing by the sounds of it, but you get caught up in the moment and you need the crowd behind you. And they were fantastic.”
Beating the title holders? He said: “We are going to take it a match at a time. We haven’t played much doubles. We are obviously pretty good! You can’t say, oh, we can go and win it. We take it a point at a time.”
Clarke added: “Everyone’s good, especially now in the tournament, even better players are coming through. Just have to keep doing.”
Britain’s Heather Watson and Finn Henri Kontinen, the defending Mixed doubles champions, overcame Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and German Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1 6-3 in 49 minutes.
Jocelyn Rae and Ken Skupski defeated France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-4 7-5.