Search

Tennis star James Ward feels he’s set for his best year yet

09:00 29 May 2014

James Ward

James Ward

EMPICS Sport

EXCLUSIVE: Camden’s James Ward feels he is on course for the best year of his career after making history at the French Open.

The 27-year-old, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, became the first British man for 41 years to progress through the qualifiers to the main draw at Roland Garros.

The north Londoner was given a tough draw in the first round, facing 17th seed Tommy Robredo, but he won the first set before suffering a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 defeat.

Ward’s world ranking of 168 is sure to improve when the list is updated on Monday and, with wild card entries at The Queen’s Club and Wimbledon on the horizon, he is closing in on his best ever ranking of 137, from April 2012.

Having also played a key role in Great Britain’s Davis Cup victory over USA in February – when he beat Sam Querrey in five sets – Ward feels 2014 could prove to be his best year yet.

“Definitely, it’s still early on in the year and there are good chances over the summer on a surface I really like playing on – grass,” he said. “I’ve had my best results on there in the past, so why not?

“Then it’s the American summer after that. It’s definitely a good chance in good tournaments to make a bigger breakthrough.

“I’m on my way back up to where I was [in the world rankings] and hopefully I’ll get past that as well.

“There’s a good few tournaments coming up, a few chances with some help from wild cards to get into the bigger events, and then you’re talking about big points. Things can change very quickly, especially if you play well, and it’s definitely a good opportunity.

“It’s going very well. I’ve got a coach working with me, which is what I’ve needed for a while. It sometimes takes a little while for you to find the right person and now a change has happened and it’s only positive.

“You can see it in my game and there’s still a lot of room for improvement, which is good. We’ll see how it goes, starting from Queen’s onwards.”

John Lloyd was the last British man to come through qualifying at the French Open in 1973, and Ward followed in his footsteps after beating the Slovenian Blaz Rola in the final round, saving two match points before triumphing 12-10 in a marathon decider.

“Obviously it’s nice to hear about [the history] but it’s not something I’m focusing on,” said Ward, who is an avid Arsenal fan.

“I was looking to win a few matches in qualifying and then I played a really high-level match against Robredo, who’s a great player on clay. It was a good experience and there were lessons learned, especially for the next few weeks coming up.

“Playing in long matches in Davis Cups in the past have definitely helped me. There was a long match in the last round of the qualifiers – 12-10 in the third set – and I think that experience that I had definitely helped.”

Ward will be spending the next few weeks back home in London as he prepares for the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club – where he reached the semi-finals in 2011 - and then Wimbledon.

And, having previously been pitted against the likes of Marat Safin, Marcos Baghdatis and Michael Llodra in the opening round of the grass competitions – on top of his latest first-round clash with Robredo in Paris - he could do with finally getting some luck of the draw.

“I do, I’m glad you were the one who said it!” said Ward. “I don’t want to look like I’m making excuses but it is tough. Hopefully the draws will be a bit kinder and we’ll see what happens.”

John Lloyd was the last British man to come through qualifying at the French Open in 1973, and Ward followed in his footsteps after beating the Slovenian Blaz Rola in the final round, saving two match points before triumphing 12-10 in a marathon decider.

“Obviously it’s nice to hear about [the history] but it’s not something I’m focusing on,” said Ward, who is an avid Arsenal fan. “It was a good experience and there were lessons learned, especially for the next few weeks coming up.

“Playing in long matches in Davis Cups have definitely helped me. There was a long match in the last round of the qualifiers – 12-10 in the third set – and I think the experience that I had definitely helped.”

Ward will spend the next few weeks back home in London as he prepares for the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club – where he reached the semi-finals in 2011 – and then Wimbledon.

And, having previously been pitted against the likes of Marat Safin, Marcos Baghdatis and Michael Llodra in the opening round of the grass competitions – on top of his latest first-round clash with Robredo in Paris – he could do with finally getting some luck of the draw.

“I do, I’m glad you were the one who said it!” said Ward. “I don’t want to look like I’m making excuses but it is tough. Hopefully the draws will be a bit kinder and we’ll see what happens.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 14:41
Spurs Ladies midfielder Shannon Moloney. Pic: Getty Images/Tottenham Hotspur

Midfielder Shannon Moloney was disappointed with Spurs Ladies’ performance as they lost the second of their three cup finals – and she says the Lilywhites are determined to make amends and win another trophy this weekend.

Tottenham goalscorer Harry Kane (left) grapples with Chelsea captain John Terry during last night's 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, which ended Spurs' title challenge

Harry Kane believes Tottenham showed their fighting spirit in last night’s fiery derby clash against Chelsea – but he feels they should have controlled the game better as they threw away another lead.

Mon, 22:18
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur turns away to celebrate after scoring the opening goal at Chelsea  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge was ended by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after they threw away a two-goal lead in a fiery and ill-tempered London derby.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino says he felt compelled to confirm his commitment to Tottenham to prove to the club’s current stars and prospective signings that he will be staying at White Hart Lane.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista celebrates Danny Welbeck's winner against Norwich

Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino hopes to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United and create his own legacy at Tottenham after announcing he has agreed a two-year contract extension.

Dele Alli (right) appeared to punch West Bromwich Albion's Claudio Yacob during Monday's 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane and has been banned for three games

Dele Alli will continue to take part in training until the end of the season, even though he cannot play for Tottenham, to maintain his fitness ahead of this summer’s Euro 2016 Championship.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has announced he has verbally agreed a two-year contract extension at Tottenham, extending his stay at White Hart Lane until 2021.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe