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Brit Watch

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Britons don’t tend to do well at Wimbledon. Year upon year we throw wildcards at various young, and older, players only to see them fail at the first hurdle. It reached the point where we had to stop handing out wildcards to certain players (Bogdanovic!) and this year the likes of Dan Evans, Dan Cox and Tara Moore all had to qualify. That isn’t to say that wildcards weren’t handed to British players – indeed Liam and Naomi Broady, Kyle Edmund, Brydan Klein, James Ward, Jo Konta and Laura Robson all received one. Throughout this tournament I plan to update this page with how each one of them does, including a little section on what I know about each. As well as them, I will include sections on Andy Murray, Aljaz Bedene and Heather Watson as well, all of whom qualified automatically due to their ranking.

Qualifying:

No Brits made it through qualifying, although some won morale boosting matches. It’s worth mentioning everyone, just so you have an idea of some names for the future (or not, as the case usually is in British tennis!)

Women’s:

Eight British women entered the qualifying tournaments, all of them on wildcards. Amanda Carreras, Gabriella Taylor, Emily Webly-Smith, Lucy Brown and Naomi Cavaday all failed to win a match and fell at the first hurdle. There was better news, however, for Tara Moore, Katy Dunne and Katie Swann who each reached the second round. Of those, watch out for Katie Swann in the future – she’s a 16 year old who reached the Australian Open junior final this year and a win in Wimbledon qualifying should give her the confidence to kick on.

Men’s:

There were seven representatives of Britain in the male qualifying, with only one qualifying on ranking alone. Richard Gabb, Dan Cox, Alex Ward and Richard Bloomfield failed to make it past the first round, all losing to higher ranked opposition. Edward Corrie, who qualified rather than being given a wildcard, made it to the second round along with Josh Milton yet neither made it any further. Dan Evans got closest to qualifying, winning 2 matches and making the final round before losing in straight sets to Yuichi Sugita of Japan.

Main Draw Brits:

Aljaž Bedene:
WR: 75, Age: 25, Best Wimbledon: 1R (2013, 2014)

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Britain’s newest recruit; the Slovenian born Bedene is representing Britain for the first time at Wimbledon. A decent player always knocking around the world’s lower 50 of the top 100 means he will qualify automatically for every slam – even if he is yet to win a match at any! At 25, he needs to make the step up now but I’ve always liked the look of him when he plays and I’m glad to class him as a British player. In the first round, he took the first set off former top 10 Radek Stepanek before the Czech outclassed him for the next 2 sets. Bedene recovered to pull off a terrific win in 5 sets.

R1: b. Stepanek 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
R2: l. Troicki [22] 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 4-6

Liam Broady:
WR: 182, Age: 21, Best Wimbledon: first appearance

Broady, the younger sibling, from Stockport was one half of the junior doubles winning side of 2011 and has progressed nicely into the senior tour, if not spectacularly. Britain’s number 6 is at a prime age to make an impact and push his way into the world’s top 100. He had a tough but winnable start and on the first day of Wimbledon, he came from 2 sets down to beat Matosevic. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to repeat that success and fell to 16 seed, David Goffin of Belgium.

R1: b. Matosevic 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
R2: l. Goffin [16] 6-7, 1-6, 1-6

Naomi Broady:
WR: 200, Age: 25, Best Wimbledon: 2R (2014)

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The older Broady sibling has already tasted Wimbledon victory with a first round win over Babos last year, before losing to Caroline Wozniacki. She hasn’t always made the most of wildcards; losing in the 2 previous times she had been granted one. Seemingly destined to spend most of her career in the world 100 and 200’s, if she is going to make the jump it needs to be soon. Unfortunately, she lost on the first day to Colombian Duque Marino.

R1: l. Duque Marino 6-7, 3-6

Kyle Edmund:
WR: 101, Age: 20, Best Wimbledon: 1R (2013, 2014)

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A lot of things have been expected from South Africa born Edmund for a while now and the 2 times junior grand slam champion (admittedly both doubles) has been knocking on the door of the world top 100. He looked set to break into it following a first round victory at the French Open a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, that victory came at a cost – an injury that has kept him out until Wimbledon. With the talented Dolgopolov in the first round and that injury, don’t expect fireworks this year.

R1: l. Dolgopolov 6-7, 1-6, 2-6

Brydan Klein:
WR: 177, Age: 25, Best Wimbledon: Q2 (2014)

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Another Brit not born in Britain, this time in Australia, Klein has seemingly popped out of nowhere to feature in the first round of this year’s Wimbledon. He’s had a relatively solid year, entering qualifying for a few ATP tournaments but is yet to make an impact at any. It will be interesting to see how he fares against seeded and talented Andreas Seppi.

R1: l. Seppi [25] 3-6, 2-6, 2-6

Johanna Konta:
WR: 126, Age: 24, Best Wimbledon: 1R (2012, 2013, 2014)

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The second of three players representing Britain born in Australia, Konta’s stock has been steadily rising these past couple of years. Recently, she reached the quarterfinals in Eastbourne and Nottingham, meaning she went into Wimbledon full of confidence and form. Sadly, she was drawn against Maria Sharapova and only won four games. Watch out for her next year!

1R: l. Sharapova [4] 2-6, 2-6

Andy Murray:
WR: 3, Age: 28, Best Wimbledon: W (2013)

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Do I really need to write something explaining who Andy Murray is? Wimbledon champion, 2-time Grand Slam winner, Olympic champion and all round wonderful bloke, his reputation precedes him. Neither grumpy nor hates the English, as some unfortunately uneducated people believe, expect him to go far this year.

1R: b. Kukushkin 6-4, 7-6, 6-4
2R: b. Haase 6-1, 6-1, 6-3
3R: b. Seppi [25] 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
4R: b. Karlovic [23] 7-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
QF: b. Pospisil 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
SF: l. Federer [2] 5-7, 5-7, 4-6

Laura Robson:
WR: unranked, Age: 21, Best Wimbledon: 4R (2013)

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Australian born Robson comes into this tournament without a ranking as a result of a terrible period in which she’s only played one match since the start of 2014 (a 6-0, 6-1 loss). It’s a terrible story for the 21 year old who looked a couple of years ago like she could compete, and possibly win, a few slams in her life. It’ll require a lot of catching up but the 2012 mixed doubles silver medallist still has more than enough time to recapture some of her 2012/2013 form. It would be a huge surprise to see her winning many matches at Wimbledon following that injury, however one would be nice.

1R: l. Rodina 4-6, 4-6

James Ward:
WR: 111, Age: 28, Best Wimbledon: 2R (2012)

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For years the British number 2, Ward has recently been overtaken by Bedene and Edmund yet he’s still the only British male, besides Andy, to have won a match at SW19 coming into this year. He was originally scheduled to play David Ferrer until the Spaniard pulled out – leaving Ward with an opponent ranked below him and therefore a winnable match. We are all urging him to do it, Ward has so much talent and power that the world’s top 100 should be well within his grasp, yet he’s never made it. Davis Cup has been where his potential has shone the brightest and hopefully he can show that this week.

1R: b. Vanni 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
2R: b. Vesely 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3
3R: l. Pospisil 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-8

Heather Watson:
WR: 59, Age: 23, Best Wimbledon: 3R (2012)

heather-watson-wimbledon-tennis-championships-2014-1st-round_1

Heather Watson has had a fascinating career already, even at 23. She’s been inside the world top 50, outside of the top 100 and struggled with glandular fever for a long period of time. Now that illness seems to have disappeared, she’s beginning to string together form and victories, taking her back to the brink of the top 50. Her first match, against the talented Garcia of France was suspended at 1 set all on the first day due to lack of Hawkeye. She came back the next day, saved match points and went on to win 8-6 in a thrilling final set.

1R: b. Garcia [32] 1-6, 6-3, 8-6
2R: b. Hantuchová 6-4, 6-2
3R: l. S.Williams [1] 2-6, 6-4, 5-7

Verdict:

This Wimbledon has been undoubtedly positive for British players. Konta and Klein had very tough opening matches and performed admirably against much higher quality opposition. Robson and Edmund also lost in the first round, although both of those can be put down to injuries. The Broady family will be particularly proud of how this year went, with Liam winning his first ever Grand Slam match (and coming back from 2 sets down to do it!) before almost taking the first set off David Goffin, who’s reached the fourth round, whilst Naomi was close to beating a higher ranked opponent in both sets. The real highlights were Ward, Bedene and Watson. Bedene beat a former top 10 player to win his first match at a Grand Slam, while Ward beat a top 50 player and then took another to 5 sets to break into the World’s top 100 and reach the 3rd round of a slam for the first time. There is no shame in either losing to Troicki and Pospisil. Heather Watson beat a seed, then comfortably beat a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist before almost beating the world’s greatest player. She’ll be annoyed that she couldn’t see it through against Serena but must take heart from how she stuck with Williams throughout, and came close to beating her. Whatever happens with Murray, this year can only breed positivity for the British contingent.

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Author: GHardman42

Mancunian. Main passions are Sport and Mus(e)ic. Huge Everton, AM, Lancashire, JB and England fan! I play tennis like Dolgopolov (except nowhere near as good). Josh has said "You just don't know what will come next"

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