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Updated: 3 min 58 sec ago

Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:13pm

Federer On Willis: 'Kind Of Stories We Need In Our Sport'

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:04pm

Count Roger Federer among the growing number of Marcus Willis fans at Wimbledon.

Federer, who won his first-round contest in straight sets over Argentine Guido Pella, said he's thrilled for the 25-year-old Willis, a tennis teaching pro who had to win six matches in pre-qualifying and qualifying to make it to Wimbledon. On Monday, Willis also won his first-round match, sweeping World No. 54 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

“I think it's one of the best stories in a long time in our sport,” Federer said after his first-round match. “This is the kind of stories we need in our sport.”

As much as Federer appreciates Willis, who was a Top 15 junior but lacked the drive he now possesses, the Swiss star would be OK if the feel-good story ended on Wednesday. That's when the seven-time champion will face Willis, No. 772 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“I'm very excited to be playing him, actually. It's not something that I get to do very often,” Federer said.

The second-round match will be a rare first for Federer, who has played more than 1,300 tour-level matches and is making his 18th consecutive appearance at Wimbledon. The 88-time titlist has faced up-and-coming players or players with very low Emirates ATP Rankings, but never before has he faced someone who still teaches tennis to kids and adults on the side for £30 an hour.

“This match is different. It's picked up on momentum. People will hear about it. People will know about it. Naturally they're going to support him. Rightfully so, because I think it's a very cool story myself. It's going to make the match difficult,” Federer said. “I saw him play today. He plays well. It's not like he couldn't play. Otherwise he wouldn't be where he is. It's going to be interesting. Plus he is serve and volleying, which I love to see. He came up with some great, great shots. To beat a guy of Berankis' caliber in straight sets shows you how tough he is.”

Federer, who has served and volleyed a bit in his day, also delivered a scouting report on Willis, who likely will have to cancel more lessons to play against Federer. “A little bit more old school, using the slice, chipping the returns. Dangerous off the back... Saw some nice touch at the net,” Federer said. “First couple of days, it's tricky to play anybody here at Wimbledon... I think his game is perfectly suited for these kind of conditions right now.”

Federer, whose story has been told thousands of times over the years, would even like to ask a few questions to Willis. “I just like the idea of him... It would be nice for him to tell me exactly how it went, the decision to enter pre-quallies. What went through his mind really, why he wanted to quit tennis, take up coaching... It's just an interesting concept,” Federer said. “There's a lot of cool things that are part of the story.”

Federer, who's playing in only his seventh tournament of the season because of injuries, has said he has few expectations for this Wimbledon. He, like Willis, will be hoping for a great atmosphere and a good match in the second round. “If he gets more support, that's awesome. If I get more support, that's nice,” Federer said. “I hope he can play as good as he can and that I also can play a good match and everybody enjoys themselves.”

Federer Opens Wimbledon Campaign

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 6:59pm

Roger Federer brought his best tennis when needed to open his 18th consecutive Wimbledon with a 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Argentine Guido Pella.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion never faced a break point against Pella, who is now 0-4 in tour-level grass-court matches. But Federer also struggled to break the left-hander, going one for nine on break points. Finally, at 4-3 in the third set, the third seed broke Pella and served out the set at love.

Watch match highlights (not available in UK, USA, South America, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Australia)

“I was very happy with the way I played. If I would have used my chances earlier in the first and second set, maybe things would have been a bit easier. But I think Pella did a good job,” Federer said. “It's an intense match. It's the first round. It's new grass. It's always going to be a tough match. I'm happy I made it in three straight sets.”

His win sets up a dream second-round matchup for Brit qualifier Marcus Willis, No. 772 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Willis had to go through pre-qualifying at Wimbledon and has had to cancel teaching lessons to continue playing at the Grand Slam.


The World No. 3 will look to continue his march to history. Federer, who has lost to Novak Djokovic in the past two Wimbledon finals, is trying to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon crowns. The 34 year old also now has 303 Grand Slam wins, putting him three wins away from tying Martina Navratilova for the most Grand Slam wins.

“I'm super pleased to be here and happy in a different way to Marcus,” Federer said, “but I'm happy myself to be here in the second round.”

Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov prevailed against Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) to advance to the second round. Dolgopolov, the 30th seed, nearly doubled his winners to unforced errors, 45 to 24. He next will face Brit Daniel Evans, who outlasted German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(7), 7-5.

David Goffin advanced to the second round at The Championships for the second consecutive year. Goffin, the 11th seed, swept British wild card Alexander Ward 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 31 minutes.

The 25-year-old Goffin is fresh off his best showing at a Grand Slam when he reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros earlier this month (l. to Thiem). The Belgian enjoyed his deepest run at Wimbledon last year when he made the fourth round (l. to Wawrinka).

Goffin next will face French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who came back to beat Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Denis Istomin, who lost in the first round in Nottingham last week, upset 20th seed Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-7(13), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-3. Istomin broke the South African three times in the three-hour and 35-minute match. The Uzbekistani next will face Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who outlasted Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 7-6(6), 5-7, 3-6, 6-3.

Where There's A Willis There's A Way

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 6:13pm

Marcus Willis has spent much of this year working as a teaching pro at the Warwick Boat Club, but he may want to consider putting in his notice after defeating Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania on Monday at Wimbledon.

The British qualifier, who was the last direct entrant into the pre-qualifying tournament for Wimbledon, played the match of his life in defeating Berankis, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Willis defied his Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 772, hitting 14 aces and 43 winners to defeat a player ranked more than 700 spots higher than him. The plucky Brit also saved 19 of 20 break points during the match. He raised his arms in triumph after hitting a service winner on match point and rushed to celebrate with friends and family.

Marcus Willis celebrates after winning his first-round on Monday at Wimbledon." width="1920" src="/~/media/images/news/2016/06/27/18/06/willis-crowd-wimbledon-2016.jpg?la=en" />

"It's quite a nice life, isn't it," said Willis. "I haven't experienced this. Goran Ivanisevic just came around and shook my hand. He’s my hero."

Willis was once a highly touted junior ranked in the Top 15 of the ITF Junior Rankings, but struggled to immediately replicate that success on the pro tour. He blamed poor living in his first few years for his results not matching his talent.

"I was bigged up a lot.  Then I got dropped in the real world. I lost a lot of confidence, made some bad decisions and went out too much. Lifestyle wasn't good," said Willis. "I didn't have the drive. I found it three years ago. I worked very hard with my coach, Matt Smith, in Surbiton. Ridiculous times in the morning and ran myself into the ground, but it's worth it now."

Just as he found his drive, his body betrayed him. Willis struggled with injuries and was limited to just one tournament this year in January. He took up a coaching job and began playing in French and German tennis leagues in the hopes of putting together enough money to return to the tour full-time in January, but the guaranteed £50,000 he’ll earn for reaching the second-round will go a long way towards bringing him back sooner.

His dream run now becomes surreal as he gets ready to play No. 3 seed Roger Federer in a match that could potentially be placed on Centre Court.

“I'm not sure he can play on grass,” joked Willis. “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. I'm going to go out there and try to win the match. I might not.  But I'm going to give everything, as I have the last seven matches."

Novak Makes 'Almost Flawless' Start

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 5:25pm

Novak Djokovic showed no sign of nerves in attempting to defend his Wimbledon title, earning a convincing win on Monday over British wild card James Ward.

The No. 1 seed and three-time champion was in control throughout the match and didn't allow his opponent a chance to develop momentum. Djokovic won the first nine games of the match on his way to reaching the second round at Wimbledon for the 12th consecutive year.

"I honestly didn't expect myself to start that well,” said Djokovic. “It was just a matter of time when James would win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, would be the way it was. The first part of the match was almost flawless, so I’m very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon.”

Djokovic made tennis history at Roland Garros by completing the career Grand Slam, becoming just the eighth player and fourth in the Open Era to do so. He’s also the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. Although he took time to enjoy the moment, his attention turned towards Wimbledon shortly after his victory in Paris.

“The tennis schedule is such that it requires immediate focus on the next tournament. Literally after a week or so, I had to start training and getting myself in shape for grass,” said Djokovic. “I try to take the best from the past and try to remember those nice moments. Thankfully, there were plenty of those nice moments on the tennis court in the last couple of years.”

Djokovic will next play Adrian Mannarino of France, a dangerous grass-court player who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013. Although the win over Ward was his first official match on grass this year, he said the relative lack of match play on the surface wasn't a worry for him.

“Obviously when you're on the court and you're part of an official match, it’s different. [But] I had plenty of time to practise, get some match play during the practise sessions, a lot of points with different players,” said Djokovic. “I think it's enough. It hasn't been an issue three times so far in the past five years, so I don't see any issue now.”

Raonic Ruthless On Serve In First-Round Win

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 5:08pm

Sixth seed Milos Raonic put on a serving clinic in his first-round match on Monday at Wimbledon against Pablo Carreno Busta, hitting 27 aces and not dropping serve as he convincingly advanced, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4.

"I think I did things well. I created opportunities... [and] was in most of his service games," said Raonic. "I maybe lost my concentration a few times on my service games, but was always able to bring myself back. I didn't spend too much time on court," which was nice. 

Carreno Busta saved the only two break points of the set in his opening service game, but Raonic won the last four points of the tie-break to grab the early lead. He broke the Spaniard to love for a 2-1 lead in the second set and earned two more breaks of serve throughout the match. Carreno Busta fought valiantly in saving six match points, but a strong serve from Raonic finally wrapped up the match.

Raonic finished the day with 58 winners to just 22 errors. He has advanced past the opening round in all six of his Wimbledon appearances.

Next up for Raonic is Andreas Seppi of Italy, who moved past Spaniard  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. The veteran won the final nine games of the match to record his 14th career victory at Wimbledon. Seppi has only played Raonic once before, losing to him in a 2013 Davis Cup tie.

No. 27 seed Jack Sock also moved into the second round by defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The American put in a tidy performance, hitting 26 winners to only 13 errors. He'll look to reach the third-round at Wimbledon for the first time when he plays Dutchman Robin Haase, a five-set winner over Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Sock leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 1-0, defeating Haase last month in the opening round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic Wins Wimbledon 2016 Opener Highlights

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 4:30pm
Watch highlights of Novak Djokovic's first-round match against Brit James Ward. Photo: Getty Images. Video courtesy of Video content not available in UK, USA, South America, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Marcus Willis Dream Federer Clash At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 3:43pm
Marcus Willis talks about his dream debut at Wimbledon, after defeating Ricardas Berankis to set a second-round meeting with Roger Federer. Video courtesy

Raonic On McEnroe Partnership At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 3:43pm
Milos Raonic talks about working with John McEnroe following his first-round win at Wimbledon. Video courtesy

Querrey On First Round Comeback At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 3:43pm
Sam Querrey talks about coming from two sets down to prevail against Lukas Rosol in a 12-10 fifth set in his Wimbledon opener. Video courtesy

Cilic Advances To Second Round At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 3:03pm
Marin Cilic talks about his tricky first-round match against veteran Brian Baker. Video courtesy

Marin Cilic Foundation Launches

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 2:48pm
The Marin Cilic Foundation, which aspires to expand educational opportunities for young people, launches with the support of the likes of Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Ljubicic and Tim Henman at a gala dinner in London.

Djokovic Begins Historic Quest At Wimbledon

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 2:15pm

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic started the defence of his title at The Championships on Monday by beating British wild card James Ward 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 in two hours and three minutes for a place in the second round. He is now unbeaten in 29 matches at the four Grand Slam championships, tied for an Open Era record with Rod Laver.


Player Match Wins Streak Tournament Span 1) Don Budge (USA) 37 1937 Wimbledon-1938 US Championships 2) Rod Laver (AUS) 31 1962 Australian Championships-1968 Roland Garros 3=) Rod Laver (AUS) 29 1969 Australian Open-1970 Wimbledon Round of 16 3=) Novak Djokovic (USA) 29 2015 Australian Open-2016 Wimbledon first round

The World No. 1 is attempting to join Don Budge as the second player in tennis history to win five straight majors. Budge won six successive titles between 1937 Wimbledon and the 1938 US Championships.

"I honestly didn't expect myself to start that well," said Djokovic. "Nine games in a row, 6‑0, 3‑0. I thought it was just a matter of time when James would win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, will be the way it was.

"As a home player, he enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That's when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game. On the other hand, I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. The second set was quite close. Credit to him for serving well.

"The first part of the match was almost flawless, so I'm very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon."

Djokovic won the first nine games of the match, losing just 13 points. Ward broke to 30 in the fifth game of a competitive second set, which saw Djokovic save three break points at 5-5. Ward was broken to 15 in the third game of the third set, but held on in a 16-point fifth game. Djokovic has now won 45 of his 48 matches this year.


World No. 177 Ward had played Top 10 opponents twice before in then No. 8-ranked Fernando Verdasco at 2009 Wimbledon and No. 8-ranked Milos Raonic at the 2015 Aegon Championships.

Djokovic, who has spent a total of 205 weeks at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will next face Adrian Mannarino, who hit 31 winners, including 12 aces, in a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 victory over ATP Next Generation's Kyle Edmund in two hours and three minutes. Edmund is still seeking his first win at the grass-court major (0-4).

"I thought I just played quite inconsistently today, with the way I was constructing points," said Edmund. "I didn't put enough pressure on him. [I] served well in patches and in patches it went off. My level has gone up on the grass, but still lots more to improve on."

Elsewhere, Pierre-Hugues Herbert got the better of No. 21 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 56 minutes.

Sam Querrey, the No. 28 seed, fired 33 aces past Lukas Rosol in a 6-7(6), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10 in three hours and 22 minutes. He is now 4-10 lifetime in fifth-set matches. "It's exciting," said Querrey. "It feels good. A couple of times I have come back from two sets down and I have got it to a fifth and lost. It's nice to get over that hurdle and get a win."

Federer Defeats Pella In 1R Wimbledon 2016 Highlights

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 1:57pm
Watch highlights of Roger Federer's first-round win over Guido Pella at Wimbledon. Video courtesy Video content not available in UK, USA, South America, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Nishikori, Cilic Advance At Wimbledon

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 1:54pm

Kei Nishikori moved past the big-serving Aussie Sam Groth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 on Monday to move into the second round of The Championships. Nishikori won only nine more points than Groth but broke him six times to advance in straight sets.

The Japanese withdrew from the Gerry Weber Open in Halle earlier this month because of a rib injury and received a medical timeout for the same injury after winning the second set. The fifth seed's best run at Wimbledon came in 2014 when he reached the fourth round.

Nishikori next will face Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who swept Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(8).

Russian Andrey Kuznetsov outlasted 29th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. The 25-year-old Kuznetsov, No. 42 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will face either Gilles Muller of Luxembourg or Santiago Giraldo of Colombia. Their match was suspended because of darkness at 11-all in the fifth set.

David Ferrer needed only one hour and 14 minutes to sweep Israel's Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Ferrer, the 13th seed, next will face Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, who prevailed against British wild card Brydan Klein 7-6(0), 6-4, 6-4.

Marin Cilic advanced past veteran Brian Baker 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 to move into the second round. Cilic, the ninth seed, hit 18 aces and won 89 per cent of his first-serve points to move into the second round for the seventh time at the All England Club.

“I'm feeling pretty confident at the moment,” Cilic said. “I felt that I was serving really good when I needed to. All in all, I think it was pretty good.”

The 27-year-old Croat is looking to improve upon his quarter-final showings the past two years at Wimbledon. Both times he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the last eight.

Baker, a 31-year-old American, was making his first appearance at Wimbledon since 2012, when he qualified and reached the fourth round.

Cilic will face Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who beat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Stakhovsky earned his biggest Wimbledon win in 2013 when he beat Roger Federer in four sets in the second round.

In a battle of Croats, Ivo Karlovic also moved into the second round behind some effective serving. The 6'11” 37 year old struck 26 aces and zero double faults to beat 19-year-old Borna Coric 7-6(8), 7-6(7), 6-4. Coric, a member of the Next Generation, was looking to match his best showing at Wimbledon (2015). Karlovic next will face Slovakian Lukas Lacko, who beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3.

Willis Pinching Himself Ahead Of Wimbledon 2016 Debut

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 11:15am
British qualifier and teaching pro Marcos Willis is pinching himself as he cancels lessons at Warwick Boat Club ahead of making a dream debut at Wimbledon.

Marcus Willis Wins Match Point At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 8:05am
Watch Marcus Willis, No. 772 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, celebrate his first-round win at Wimbledon. Live At Wimbledon video courtesy

Marcus Willis Fans Excited For Federer Match At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 8:05am
Hear what the cheering section for Marcus Willis has to say about his second-round match against Roger Federer. Live At Wimbledon video courtesy

Goran Ivanisevic Thoughts On Marcus Willis At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 8:04am
Hear what Goran Ivanisevic has to say about Wimbledon winner Marcus Willis. Live At Wimbledon video courtesy

Dimitrov Optimistic Following 1R Win At Wimbledon 2016

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 7:25am
Grigor Dimitrov reflects on a strong performance and his level of confidence following a first-round win at Wimbledon. Video courtesy