James Ward earns top-100 place and Davis Cup spot after Wimbledon adventure
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Camden’s James Ward has joined the world’s elite top 100 and secured a place in Great Britain’s Davis Cup team for next week’s quarter-final after reaching the third round of Wimbledon.
Ward, of Eversholt Street near Euston station, is expected to be confirmed as the world No87 in the new rankings, due to be published on Monday – and yesterday he was given the second singles spot alongside Andy Murray for the upcoming international tie against France.
Such lofty status is just reward for the 28-year-old, who originally needed a wildcard to enter tennis’ most prestigious tournament, yet ended up giving Britain two men in the last 32 of the Grand Slam event for the first time in 13 years.
It could have been so much more, given the 28-year-old came from a set down against Canadian Vasek Pospisil to lead 2-1 before agonisingly losing out on a last-16 place after going down 8-6 in the fifth.
Armed with his ranking boost and with next weekend’s Davis Cup clash and then August’s US Open on the horizon, Ward knows the aim now is to make the events at SW19 a stop on the journey rather than a destination.
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“I have to build on this,” he said. “Making the top 100 is a big milestone and I have a few years left. I learnt a lot because I know I can mix it with the top players and that gives me confidence.
“You can see from this week that anyone from 50 to 100 can beat anyone on their day. A great example of that came on Friday when Heather Watson came so close to beating Serena Williams.”
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Ward’s sentiments have been echoed by former British No1 Tim Henman, who believes the difference between success and failure for Ward going forward hinges on whether or not he can produce when the lights aren’t shining quite so brightly.
Henman said: “James has had some good results in Davis Cup and now he’s obviously had a couple of wins at Wimbledon as well.
“Now it’s important that he builds on that because there is another 50 weeks in the tennis year. It’s not just about two weeks at Wimbledon – he needs to perform this well regularly at other events.”
With the Davis Cup clash against France at Queens Club starting on Friday week, July 17, Ward’s immediate task will be to work out exactly where the match with Pospisil got away from him – first via a big momentum shift in the fourth set and then when the Canadian’s superior serving gave him the edge down the stretch.
The taxi driver’s son is more than happy to do his homework in search of ‘The Knowledge’ needed to keep Britain’s quest for glory on track.
Ward said: “Losing 8-6 in the fifth set, we are talking very, very small margins. I will look back at the match and see if there are a few improvements I can make.”
Henman’s comments came at The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge - the UK’s largest national junior grass court tournament and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.