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Tennis: Ward hoping to serve up a good run at Queens

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 June 2019

James Ward in action at the Nature Valley Open at Nottingham Tennis Centre (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

James Ward in action at the Nature Valley Open at Nottingham Tennis Centre (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

James Ward will be looking to put in a good run at Fever-Tree Championships this week at Queens Club, West Kensington as he continues his pursue for another Wimbledon spot.

The 32-year-old from Camden Town overcame India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Coatian world number 86 Ivo Karlovic, respectively, in two rounds of qualifying to earn himself a place in the main 32-man field of the men's ATP 500 event and faces France's world 38 ranked Gilles Simon on Monday afternoon.

And the Arsenal fan is hoping to repeat the tremendous run from 2011 when he was only one match away from facing his good friend and fellow British Davis Cup colleague Andy Murray in the final before Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put a dent to that.

"Let's hope so," said Ward who claimed the scalps of highly ranked Stan Wawrinka and then defending champion Sam Querrey nine years ago.

"It's never say never. It's one match at a time with me."

Ward, whose father Jim is a London taxt driver, began his Road to Wimbledon campaign with a last-16 run at the British grasscourt season opening Surbiton Trophy before losing to Italy's Stefano Napolitano in the first round of Nottingham Open last week.

Since reaching a career world ranking high 89th nearly four years ago Ward missed the majority of 2017 campaign due to an ongoing knee injury.

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The hard-grafting North Londoner is working tremendously hard to get himself back into the dazzling heights of the top 100.

"After surgery I had a long time out rehabbing and ranking went to a 1000 in the world and you have to rebuild and restart again," he added.

"And it's difficult working your way back up. It's hard enough the first time let alone the second time.

"When you are a bit older and you want to play less matches but you have to play more because you have to play qualies and everything. It's tough but I keep chipping away, keep hacking myself and hopefully get a good run at one of the bigger tournaments like here and things can change quick."

And Ward, who is currently ranked at number 212, believes he has what it takes to reach the main draw of SW19 for the nine time of his career and admits he would be absolutely chuff to bits if he was offered a direct wild card entry by AELTC and LTA especially after the injury spells.

"I was 160 a couple of weeks ago so I had points coming off here and there and things change," he added. "And I'm trying to play the better tournaments and trying to get a good run together and hopefully things change round.

"It will be great especially after coming back from long tough injury. Working my way back up so see and hope they help me out and I then can go and take my chance and trying to win some more matches."

Defending champion Marin Cilic begins the defence of his title tomorrow (June 18) against Cristian Garin while Andy Murray makes his long awaited return after a lengthy injury spell and teams up with Feliciano López in the doubles.

Tickets are still available by calling 0844 2097356 or log on to lta.org.uk.

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