Tennis star Liam Broady believes Marcus Willis will be a potent threat if he reaches the main Wimbledon draw, after the Stockport star lost out to him at the second round of the Wimbledon qualifiers in Roehampton.
British number ten Broady lost 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 to Willis to end his hopes of making the main draw at the All-England Club next week.
Little could separate the British duo early on, as they claimed a set a-piece after pushing each other to tense tie-breaks.
Broady saved three match points and forced a decider only to drop serve early in the final set with a loose game, allowing Willis – who made a name for himself against Roger Federer in last years’ championships – to capitalise and pull away in the third.
And Broady insists that his British opponent – who he called a close friend before the game – will be one to avoid if the Slough-born star makes it to the iconic tennis grand slam tournament.
“To be honest, I think most of the guys in the draw – and especially the qualifying draw – will be looking to avoid Marcus Willis because of the way he plays,” Broady said.
“He’s very tricky, he asks a lot of questions and he puts you under a lot of pressure with his serve.
“I came out expecting to play at least one tie break today. One went my way, one went his way. I just had a bit of a slack game at the start of the third.
“It all went by in a bit of a blur really. There were a lot of serves going past me. I knew that was Marcus. I kind of thrive on the longer points and I think he did quite well as keeping them as short as possible, mixing it up and not letting me get into my rhythm.
“I just played a bad game at the start of the third and that was that really, it was just quite frustrating.”
The event at the Bank of England Sports Club is the preliminary tournament to the main championships which runs from 26-29 June, the week before the prestigious All-England Club event.
Broady’s exit from the competition means that he will miss out on one of the 16 qualifying places on offer in the men’s knock-out competition out of a field of 128 players, all of whom have neither a high enough ranking nor a wild card to automatically qualify for a spot at the All-England Club.
The last time the pair had met was at the Knoxville Challenger in 2014, when Broady come out on top, winning 7-5 6-4.
And this time, the 24-year-old denied that the damp conditions hampered his chances of victory.
“All the courts here are pretty good. There was just one patch of grass where I think people are landing consistently off the serve where the grass had worn away. Again I’ve had that often on the grass court, I was just frustrating myself.
“I fell on my hand a bit funny and it got trapped under I fell. I’ll go and get checked out tomorrow but I don’t think that has anything to do with why I lost today.
“I think the crowd were definitely applauding Marcus more for obvious reasons, but I think overall it was a pretty nice atmosphere.”
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