Updated: Friday, 13th December 2019 @ 3:26am

Bridging the gap: Manchester's Dan Smethurst impresses US giant Isner in Wimbledon first round defeat

Bridging the gap: Manchester's Dan Smethurst impresses US giant Isner in Wimbledon first round defeat

| By James Toney at Wimbledon

Failsworth's Dan Smethurst insisted he enjoyed every second of his Wimbledon debut – and can't wait to come back and do it all again.

British number five Smethurst wasn't given much chance against big-serving American John Isner and the number nine seed boomed down 26 aces to Smethurst's four.

The 23-year old shook his head in disbelief at one 139mph bullet and while he went down to a straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 defeat, it never looked like 223 world ranking places separated these players.

"His serve is ridiculous, I was just working hard to get a read on it but it was a fantastic challenge and I loved it," said Smethurst.

"I didn't realise the crowd would get into it so much and wasn't expecting them to chant my name, I was overwhelmed by that.  I've never had a crowd backing me like that before, it was a great experience.

"I think I've dealt with it quite well this week.  I've been very relaxed in practice and I've learned so much about myself and my tennis."

Smethurst will bank £27,000 for his first round defeat, valuable cash that will be ploughed back into his tennis as he travels the world to some of the sport's less glamorous outposts in search of all important ranking points.

Defeat here meant only defending champion Andy Murray progressed to the second round from the six British men who entered the main draw on Monday.

Some of those were disappointing results but not Smethurst, who has risen rapidly this year - almost 200 places in total - and deserved his Wimbledon wildcard place.

But he also knows his season can't be judged on one match, even if most casual observers judge the success of a player on their performance here at SW19.

"It's no good having one or two good tournaments throughout the year because it doesn't do anything for your ranking," he added.

"You've got to try and sustain it throughout. I think that's the key and the challenge for me now."

Meanwhile, Isner paid credit to his opponent - admitting he was surprised by his performance.

"He was a good player but I didn't know too much about him because he's still quite new at the ATP Tour level," he said.

"He is super confident on grass. There were some times where I would hit a shot and next thing I know he's on top of the net putting away a volley.  He's got a pretty bright future ahead of him.  He has a pretty big game as well."

As the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, HSBC is helping fans get closer to Wimbledon by giving them the chance to win Centre Court tickets. For further information, visit www.wimbledon.com/hsbc 

Main image courtesy of British Tennis LTA via YouTube, with thanks.