James Ward relishes prospect of an all-British clash with Andy Murray at Wimbledon
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James Ward is relishing the prospect of meeting fellow Brit Andy Murray in the second round of Wimbledon after the draw for the tournament was made this morning.
Ward, from Eversholt Street near Euston Station, will face Yen-Hsun Lu on Monday while Murray will take on Benjamin Becker.
Lu is ranked 142 places above Ward, who used to play at Islington Tennis Centre on Market Road, in the world rankings.
However, the north Londoner overcame world No36 Pablo Andujar last year to reach the second round – and he admits the chance of an all-British second-round tie against Murray has given him plenty of extra motivation.
“If I win on Monday then I get the bonus of playing Andy,” said Ward. “It would be my first time on Centre Court and I would be playing Andy Murray - what more could I ask for? It would be a great day, I would go out there, have fun and enjoy it.
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“We will see what happens on Monday. If I went through it would be amazing so I’m looking forward to it.”
Murray, seeded second following his appearance in last year’s final, has never played a fellow Brit in the singles or doubles at Wimbledon.
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And, while Ward must first focus on his match against Lu, he admits he started thinking about the joshing that will ensue between the pair should they meet in the last 64.
“I just saw Andy on the way to practice,” Ward said. “We didn’t say much really because we both have to win on Monday but, if we both do win, I’m sure there will be a bit of banter before the game.”
Ward almost made it to the third round of Wimbledon last year but, having overcome Andujar, he was edged out by 10th seed Mardy Fish in a five-set thriller.
His first-round opponent this year has a good record on grass. Lu, from Taiwan, beat Andy Roddick and Florian Mayer to reach the quarter-finals in 2010, but Ward sees no reason why he cannot upset the odds again next week.
“Of course what happened last year gives me confidence that I can do it again,” said Ward, who made the semi-finals at Queen’s in 2011 and was a key member of the Great Britain team that beat Russia in the Davis Cup in April.
“But he plays well on the grass. He is short, he moves from the baseline so it will definitely be a tough one.”