James Ward takes Novak Djokovic to a tie-break but bows out at Wimbledon

James Ward (left) enters Centre Court behind the reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic

James Ward (left) enters Centre Court behind the reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Camden’s James Ward took the world No1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic to a tie-break in the first round at Wimbledon but was defeated in straight sets on Centre Court.

James Ward serves against the world No1

James Ward serves against the world No1 - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ward, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, initially appeared to be heading for a chastening outing at SW19 after losing the first set 6-0 and then finding himself 3-0 down in the second.

However, he fought back valiantly to force a tie-break – only to go down 7-3 and then be edged out 6-4 in the third after just over two hours’ play.

Ward made a nervous start, double faulting twice in his first service game – and although he was only a point away from getting on the board on a number of occasions during the first set, he was defeated 6-0.

The 29-year-old soon found himself 3-0 down in the second, but he then held serve – celebrating with arms aloft – and quickly grew in confidence.

Novak Djokovic won in straight sets

Novak Djokovic won in straight sets - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images


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Ward immediately went 40-0 up on Djokovic’s serve and broke the Serb before winning his third game in a row.

The, after finding himself 40-0 down on his own serve, he fought back again to keep the scores level at 4-4.

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Britain’s No5 had break points of his own at 5-5 but was unable to capitalise, and the set resulted in a tie-break.

Both players won their first point on serve but Djokovic quickly gained a mini-break and a 5-1 lead before triumphing 7-3 and securing a 2-0 lead overall.

Ward could have folded after that disappointment, and he lost his second service game in the third set. However, he responded well again and held on the next three occasions, surviving a break point at 3-2.

Djokovic ultimately had to serve for the match, and he did so to progress to the second round and book a meeting with Adrian Mannarino, who beat Briton Kyle Edmund earlier in the day.

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