Stockport tennis star Liam Broady has admitted his delight at competing in the Aegon Manchester Trophy on the same grass as some of his heroes.
The tournament is part of the ATP Challenger Tour at The Northern Lawn Tennis Club in Didsbury and Broady is due to take on Japan’s Hiroki Moriya later today weather permitting.
The weather has delayed play significantly today and Broady’s match may be postponed until tomorrow but he is still excited about following in the footsteps of the players he used to watch.
“The Manchester Trophy, it’s amazing to be here because I remember coming to watch the Challenger here years ago when (Nicolas) Mahut used to play on centre court,” said the 21-year-old of the French twice grand slam doubles finalist, who more famously played a part in the longest game in history against John Isner at Wimbledon five years ago.
“It’s just nice to know that I’m not in the position of those guys when they were my age because I used to feel like they were gladiators on court back then.
“I’m hoping that from this tournament I can go onto Surbiton, Ilkley and Nottingham and have a good summer on grass and hopefully a great Wimbledon as well.”
Broady has continued to climb the world rankings since he won the Australian Open Boys Doubles in 2012 and he reached his first Challenger final in November last year.
The Northern club has been a regular training spot for Broady over the years and he is expecting it to feel very special playing on the courts that he knows so well for a prestigious trophy.
He added: “I’ve got a lot of friends here today and family and guys from the club league team who have come down to see me and I’m hoping it will be a special personal atmosphere.
“It’s a nice intimate crowd setting and I’m probably going to know most of the guys in the crowd I expect.”
Broady’s opponent Moyriya is ranked 171 in the world, five places higher than the left-handed Brit, but the local youngster has said he will focus purely on what happens on the day.
“I feel the same as I do against any opponent, I play based on how they play on the day not on their ranking,” said the 2010 Wimbledon Boys Doubles winner.
“I’ve had a few rain delays in my time being from around here so that’s not affected my nerves, I’m just hoping the weather clears up now and I can get out there and get started.”
Main image courtesy of Tennis Atlantic via YouTube, with thanks.