British tennis legend Tim Henman claimed James Ward’s form is heading in the right direction, despite the Londoner narrowly missing out on reaching the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time since 2010.
Speaking at the 2018 Jaguar Championships at David Lloyd Royal Berkshire, Henman expressed his hopes for the former British No. 2 after he came through two rounds of qualifying for before losing 6-4 6-2 1-6 6-0 to France’s Benjamin Bonzi at the final hurdle.
Ward also reached the final of the Loughborough Trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour and the quarter-finals in Nottingham last month and Henman believes his performances demonstrate positive signs for the future.
“For James Ward that was a timely performance at a decent event in Loughborough to get through to the final, it certainly gets his ranking moving in the right direction,” said Henman.
“Having been in the top 100 before, played on the main tour, had some good results at Wimbledon, that’s where he’s looking to get back to eventually.
“I think in the lead-up to the grass-court season it was a good result for him for confidence, get some matches under his belt.
“Grass is a good surface for him, he’s an attacking type of player and hopefully he can build that momentum as the grass court season unfolds.”
As a Davis Cup champion in 2015 – Great Britain’s first success in that tournament for 79 years – Ward has played at the highest level of tennis but has since struggled to hit the same heights.
Having reached a career-high ranking of 89 back in 2015, he now sits at 363 following a knee injury, but Henman warned not to rule the 31-year-old out just yet.
Henman added: “He’s in the latter part of his career but he’s still has the hunger and desire and he’s obviously working very hard to get back from knee surgery.
“He’s probably going to be playing a mixture of the Challengers but potentially main draw in the tour events.
“So, any match that he’s going to be winning this year is going to be helping his ranking, which was down into the 800s at one point, so it’s a question of building that back up.
“But this is where he’s got an opportunity, he’s had some wildcards and he will hopefully get some in the future, so any match that he wins is going to be moving him in the right direction.”
Tim Henman was speaking at The Jaguar Championships as part of Jaguar’s partnership with David Lloyd Clubs. Visit http://www.jaguar.co.uk/jaguar-range/f-pace/index.html to find out more about the F-PACE, the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon