Search

Improving Ward eyes a run at Wimbledon

13:10 12 June 2014

James Ward during the AEGON Championships at The Queen

James Ward during the AEGON Championships at The Queen's Club

EMPICS Sport

Camden’s James Ward feels his performance at Queen’s is a sign of continuing improvement – and now he’s setting his sights on a good run at Wimbledon.

Ward’s second-round 7-5, 6-3 defeat to world no 13 Grigor Dimitrov in the Aegon Championships followed a straight-sets win against Blaz Rola, where he bridged a rankings gap of 64 places to advance 7-5, 6-4.

The 27-year-old, from Eversholt Street near Euston, felt his match against Dimitrov had come down to just a couple of points.

Ward – who last month became the first British man since 1973 to come through qualifying at the French Open – said: “It was a tough match where we both played to a high level.

“He played a couple of great points at the end of the first set and took his chances in the second.

“He earned the win – it wasn’t me giving it to him, but that’s the difference playing these top guys. You need to stay right at the top of your game to stand any chance.”

As well as his French Open run, the world no 155 enjoyed a memorable five-set Davis Cup win over the USA’s Sam Querrey earlier this year, and he is determined to keep improving.

He added: “I will continue to work hard on all parts of my game, and things are going in the right direction but it’s not going to change overnight.

“I’m improving all the time, as you can see in my results. I’m playing quality players and getting good results and being more consistent.”

A tired Ward finished his involvement at the Queen’s Club when he and Dan Evans suffered a 6-1 4-6 10-4 doubles defeat to Jamie Murray and John Peers, in a match that started just an hour after the Dimitrov clash.

After an encouraging few days at the Aegon Championships, the British no 3 is now looking ahead to the next couple of weeks and especially Wimbledon, after confirmation of his wildcard.

Ward feels he can draw strength from his win against Querrey and said: “I like playing long matches and over five sets anything can happen so I’m really excited for Wimbledon.

“A lot depends on the draw, but I’m looking forward to it and hopeful I can win some matches.”

A factor which could be key at SW19 is Ward’s serve, and after recording an impressive first serve percentage of 83 per cent against Dimitrov, the Brit revealed this is an area of his game he’s been working on.

He said: “I’ve been doing a fair bit of work on my serve – I spoke with my coach about getting more first serves in, as that’s so key on a grass court.”

Before Wimbledon, Ward plays at Eastbourne next week, and as he explains, every tournament is vital to getting points and moving up the rankings – breaking the world’s top 100 for the first time remains a key goal for the former Queen’s semi-finalist.

“Next week the focus is on winning some matches and moving my ranking higher,” he said.

“I need to keep playing at a good level and the results will come. With a few positive results, I could be in the top 100 and that’s a massive step up. It’s a completely different ball game to where I am at the moment.”

A passionate Arsenal fan, Ward paused when asked how a few wins at Wimbledon would compare to the Gunners winning the league. Eventually he joked, “I think a run at Wimbledon might just edge it.”

Latest Islington Sports News

07:30
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

07:15
Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue

The match stats team at bettingexpert pored over the recent history of league contests between Arsenal and Watford – who meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday – and discovered that, while the Gunners secured a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last term, all of their goals came in the second half.

Yesterday, 11:50
Times ABC's Jules Philips. Pic: Dieter Perry

Islington super-bantamweight Jules Phillips is getting ready to go to war – four months after leaving the Army behind.

Yesterday, 10:41

London Blitz chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy is determined to make amends for last year’s BritBowl defeat to London Warriors when the teams clash again in the end-of-season showpiece.

Wed, 16:29
Arsenal promo

Here’s your chance to see the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg pull on the Arsenal shirt just one more time.

Tue, 18:56
Sandun Dias hit 85 for Highgate. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate hauled themselves out of the drop zone again as the weather helped them to secure a narrow victory at Enfield in Division Two of the Middlesex County League.

Tue, 13:54
Jordan Gregory bowls for North London. Pic: Max Flego

North London skipper Sam Bardon is optimistic that victories in the two remaining games will give his side a good chance of promotion from Middlesex County League Division Three.

Tue, 12:44
Liam O'Driscoll was the pick of North Middlesex's bowlers with three wickets, and he then hit 53 off 58 balls with the bat. Pic: Max Flego

North Middlesex extended their remarkable winning run to eight matches but remain second with just two games left in the title race after leaders Teddington also came out on top.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now