Securing your maiden Wimbledon victory is always a special feeling, as Northampton tennis player Alexander Ward found out on Monday.
Ward roared back from a 6-1 beating in the opening set of his first-round qualifying match for Wimbledon against Egor Gerasimov of Belarus, to take the second 7-5 and the decider 6-3.
It was the British number 19’s first win at Wimbledon Qualifying, after he lost in the first round of the main draw last year to Belgium’s David Goffin.
However, Ward is one step closer to gracing the courts at SW19 in the men's singles once more after his victory at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton.
“I played a really bad first set to be honest, I really struggled out there with the pace of his shots, and I didn’t play well at all,” said the 27-year-old.
“But I slowly got into it and got a break early in the second set which helped me a lot, and I felt better and better as the match went on.
“I got into my stride a bit more, and by the end of it I was probably playing some of my best game.
“It was a real rollercoaster – my worst tennis followed by my best tennis.”
Ward, ranked 855th in the world, will now contest the second round of qualifying at the competition later this week.
And while he knows a place in the main draw this time around is still not quite within his grasp, he admitted to riding the crest of a wave after showing his mettle to come from behind against the 24-year-old Belarusian.
“It feels great – I’ve never won a match at Wimbledon Qualifying,” said Ward, who is based in Barcelona.
“I played in the main draw last year and lost in the first round, so the double factor of coming back and winning the match like I did, and it being here at Wimbledon, feels amazing.
“I was so locked into the match, I wasn’t thinking about the next game or the rest of qualifying. But it puts me in a good position for my next match, and I feel good on the grass.
“My first target was to play here but then I kept losing – I thought ‘you need to get a win here’, so to finally get the victory feels great.”
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