WIMBLEDON : MARCUS WILLIS STUNS RICARDAS BERANKIS
On an opening day of the 2016 Wimbledon, British qualifier Marcus Willis who is ranked 772 in the world – caused a huge upset with victory over world number 54 Ricardas Berankis
Willis had won just £220 in prize money in 2016 before Wimbledon, and was set to give up playing professionally to coach in the USA earlier this year before his girlfriend persuaded him otherwise.
“I’ve been coaching at the Warwick Boat Club,” he explained. “I had options in Philadelphia. Nothing was dead set. But I met the girl, she told me not to, so I didn’t. I do what I’m told.”
The Briton was smiling broadly from the moment he walked on to court, punching his fist and nodding along with the singing from his supporters before a ball had been struck, and he carried that attitude into the match.
A delicate lob set up an immediate break point and Berankis duly double-faulted to hand the Briton an early advantage that would give him the set.
Willis kept Berankis guessing with clever use of slice, some fine passing shots and nerveless serving under pressure, and the shock was very much on when he broke to love for a 3-1 lead in the second set.
Willis received plenty of support from fellow British tennis players, including world number two Andy Murray
The decisive moment came in game five when Willis thumped a forehand winner down the line to break serve for the fifth time, and he then came back from 0-40 down in game eight to make it 5-3.
With a little under two hours played Willis got the chance to serve for the win, and two magical passes propelled him to match point, which he converted with a big serve and a huge roar.
“Obviously it’s an amazing dream come true. I get to play on a stadium court. This is what I dreamed of when I was younger. ‘’ Wills said.
When asked about the prospect of playing Federer on Wednesday, Willis said “I’m going to go out there and try to win the tennis match. I probably won’t. I might not. But I’m going to give everything, as I have the last seven matches.”