Wimbledon: Present from Arsenal gives Ward a boost
A GOOD luck letter from Arsenal was the driving force behind James Ward’s terrific Court One performance at Wimbledon.
Although the 25-year-old was beaten over five sets by 10th seed Mardy Fish, he emerged with huge credit following one of the displays of his career. Ranked 173rd in the world, few expected the Londoner to win a set, yet only Fish’s late rally preventing Ward from joining Andy Murray in round three.
Ward later thanked Arsenal and their chief executive Ivan Gazidis for writing to him after he admitted he was forced to relinquish his £1,300 season ticket to save money. Arsenal sent him a shirt with his name on the back and invited him to the directors’ box for a game next season.
“I really appreciated that and I look forward to going to a few games next season,” Ward said. “It was nice to get a shirt with my name on it and they went to a lot of effort. I appreciate it.”
Having started in front of a sparse crowd, Ward left to a standing ovation from a near-packed arena and said, “I’ll remember the moment for the rest of my life.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recovered from a set down to power into the third round by defeating Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
David Ferrer the seventh seed, took care of Kenny De Schepper, winning 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-1, while Andy Roddick dispatched Bjorn Phau 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3. Fernando Verdasco had a four-set win over Grega Zemlja, while Xavier Malisse saw off Gilles Simon in straight sets.
Simon, later probed about his comments that men deserve better pay than women in tennis, said: “My point was that I have the feeling that men’s tennis is actually more interesting than women’s tennis.”
However, Maria Sharapova – who beat Tsvetana Pironkova on Centre Court – mocked Simon pointing out that “there are a few more people that watch my matches than his”.
Marin Cilic beat Lukasz Kubot, Radek Stepanek beatf Benjamin Becker and American Brian Baker’s dream comeback from severe injury trauma continued as he came through 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 against Jarkko Nieminen.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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