Clarke credits new perspective after toppling Schwartzman

Jay Clarke put on a confident performance to come out a 6-4 6-3 winner in Roehampton

Jay Clarke
Jay Clarke booked his place in the second round of Wimbledon Qualifying (REUTERS/Paul Childs via Beat Media Group subscription)

By Abi Curran

Jay Clarke credited a new perspective as key to his toppling of Diego Schwartzman as the Derby star made an eye-catching start to Wimbledon Qualifying.

The 25-year-old beat the former world No. 8 in straight sets, putting on a confident performance to come out a 6-4 6-3 winner.

Derby’s Clarke was out of action for six months at the end of last year with a wrist injury and, after getting married in that time, has a new approach as he bids to return to SW19.

He is pleased to be back on a surface he enjoys and believes the best is yet to come.

Clarke said: “It was a really tough draw, Diego is one of the legends of the sport, the fact I could play him is already a pleasure and to win is amazing.

“My game works quite well on grass anyway, I’ve just been trying to serve big, play aggressively and get to the net.

“I think I’m still three or four years away from my peak, I didn’t play for the last six months of the year due to the surgery on my left wrist.

"My whole perspective has changed because I didn’t know if I would be able to come back to play.

“Before, I didn’t feel like I had the time to work on things and I was top 150 in the world for five years, knocking on that top 100 door.

“When I had the time off, I dropped to 800 and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back to that level.

“Now I’m able to play freely and not think about my wrist so I’m really happy to be here.”

Clarke was awarded a wild card to the main draw of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships for his Grand Slam singles debut, when he was beaten in five sets in the first round.

In the same year, he reached the semi-finals in the mixed doubles with Harriet Dart having beaten the- top seeds in the third round.

And last week, Clarke was awarded a Wimbledon wild card in the men’s doubles alongside fellow Brit Marcus Willis.

He added: “A lot of memories have happened at Wimbledon and I’m still only 25, so I definitely think I’m not at my peak just yet.

“There are so many things I want to work on, it’s been tough to work on them because I’ve been grafting so much to get my ranking back up there to be back at Wimbledon."

Clarke will play Frenchman Quentin Halys in the second round of Wimbledon Qualifying.

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