Marcus Willis, who nearly gave up the tour to go coaching full time, was persuaded to continue by his girlfriend who lives locally. After joining Warwick Boat Club as a part time coach and playing for the club in the Warwickshire leagues, Marcus succeeded through six rounds of qualifying to reach the opening round of a grand slam for the first time.
Appearing on Wimbledon court 17, the red button and on internet streaming work PC's at desks across the nation, Marcus beat Ricardas Berankis ranked 718 places above him at 54 in the world. Playing with a freedom and a smile, Marcus kept his opponent and the watching public guessing as he saved 19 break points and served up outrageous winners and double faults in equal measure. Game after game Marcus edged ahead with winners celebrated in style and misses forgotten in an instant as his raucous support cheered "Wave a shoe for Willis" (*).
The BBC were so impressed with his qualification they arrived at the club to film a news story. As the result arrived, they broadcast live from the club and interviewed Gavin Henderson, our Tennis Manager:
You can see more BBC reporting here.
The win has earned Marcus a match against Roger Federer on Wednesday, almost certainly on a show court. Go Marcus! Federer may be an all time champion, but he has never played anybody from Warwick Boat Club before! We will all be cheering for you on Wednesday.
(*) No, I don't know why either ;-)
PS Even Vassos Alexander from Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show reported the story. Unfortunately he got confused and said "Not only has he won SIX matches to get to Wimbledon AND won his first round match, he teaches kids to play tennis at a YACHT club". Oh well...
Last updated on by Graham Harrington