Northampton's Ward will face Edmund at Wimbledon
Northampton's Alex Ward will be involved in a battle of Britain in the first round at Wimbledon.
Ward, who booked his place in the tournament after winning three qualifying matches in Roehampton, will face Kyle Edmund on Tuesday.
Edmund, a member of Britain’s Davis Cup team, is currently ranked 48th in the world, while Ward is down at 855th.
But the 27-year-old is full of confidence, having beaten some talented players in qualifying.
Ward got the better of Egor Gerasimov (166th in the world), Go Soeda (111th in the world) and Teymuraz Gabashvili (176th in the world) at Roehampton.
And the Cobblers fan’s progress is made all the more remarkable by the fact he only won a place at the qualifying competition via a wildcard, having been knocked out of pre-qualifying.
“It feels incredible, I’ve never won a match in Wimbledon qualifying before this year,” said Ward.
“I’ve lost four times, it just feels amazing, I’m still struggling to get my head around it.
“I lost in the final round of pre-qualifying, 7-6 in the third set and had two match points, and thought that was it.
“Luckily, they opened up two more wildcard slots and gave me one of them, so it really is unbelievable.
“With each match I got better and better.
“I kept training hard and kept believing in the months and weeks where I wasn’t playing well, fortunately it’s come together for Wimbledon, the best tournament!”
Ward missed six months of last year with a wrist injury, but played in the 2016 men’s singles. He was was beaten in the first round by Belgian hitter David Goffin.
But Ward will now look to go one better this time round.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle this year and I haven’t won a lot of matches to be honest,” said Ward, who is currently playing without a coach.
“But having come through qualifiers, I really feel like I deserve my place there this year.”