He may not have been able to give his family a double celebration on day two of Wimbledon, but Northamptonshire’s Alex Ward still gave his mum something to be proud of on her 60th birthday.
The qualifier, bidding to become the second Brit in as many years to make the second round at Wimbledon despite being ranked outside the world’s top 700, began well against countryman Kyle Edmund before eventually losing 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 in the first round.
Ward’s mother, Sue was celebrating her 60th birthday on Tuesday and watched on as her son made a flying start to his second main draw appearance at The Championships.
Edmund’s superiority shone through, however, but that took nothing away from Mrs Ward’s day - one that she hopes will lead to greater things for her son.
"It has been a special day, although everyone keeps reminding me of my age! But it has been a wonderful way to spend it," said.
"I couldn't be prouder of him. I admire the way he is still plugging away at it.
"The positive thing is this is going to be a springboard for more tennis and he'll be able to continue to improve."
The 27-year-old broke his opponent, five years his junior but ranked 50th in the world, in the opening game before going on to seal the set behind a rock-solid serve and strong work from the back of the court - even saving a break point before serving it out.
The tide turned in the second set, however, as Ward - ranked 869 in the world - lost the consistency that had served him so well in the opener.
Edmund began to get a read on Ward’s serve and duly got the break needed to level things up after an hour’s play.
A pattern then emerged in the final two sets of Edmund surging into a 4-0 lead before Ward reacted, the younger Brit’s consistency and powerful forehand too much for his unheralded opponent to handle.
And it wasn’t just Edmund’s forehand that was causing Ward problems - as one rifled backhand pass to secure the double break in set four exhibited - but the young Brit was not short of respect for his opponent.
"Well done to Alex," said Edmund, who plays French 15th seed Gael Monfils in the next round while Ward leaves SW19 £35,000 better off. "He went through qualifying after a long injury lay-off. It's good to see the nice guys do well.
“I have trained with him in the past. I think both of our games are more suited to grass.”
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