British tennis player Alexander Ward hopes to pull off a Marcus Willis and become this year's Wimbledon sensation. The world number 855 is the only Briton to have reached the Wimbledon main draw through qualifying. The 27-year-old was given the chance to compete at Roehampton this week after being handed a qualifying wildcard by the tournament.
Ward outclassed Egor Gerasimov of Belarus and Japanese Go Soeda before stunning well-known Teymuraz Gabashvili in the final round. The Briton was on a six-match losing streak prior to the Wimbledon qualifying event. Ward's friend Willis made the headlines last year after winning six matches to reach the main draw at All England Club, winning three pre-qualifying and then three qualifying clashes.
Willis, who was teaching kids tennis at that time around last year as he was ranked below 700 on the ATP list, won his first-round match Ricardas Berankis to set up a meeting with the great Roger Federer on Wimbledon's Centre Court in round two.
''What a story that was, let's see what happens this year,'' Ward said. ''We're the same age, we used to train here together and he's always been a great player and a fantastic character, always fun to be around.'' Ward lost to rising star David Goffin in his debut appearance at The Championships last year.
''It will mean everything [to return to Wimbledon], especially having qualified. I feel like I really deserve my place there.'' Also read: Andy Murray: 'Pressure at Wimbledon is nerve-wracking'