Liam Broady counting reasons to be cheerful despite Wimbledon defeat

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 1, 2024 Britain's Liam Broady in action during his men's singles first round match against Netherlands' Botic van De Zandschulp REUTERS/Paul Childs
Image: REUTERS/Paul Childs

By Abi Curran

Liam Broady feels he has every reason to be optimistic following a first-round Wimbledon defeat after coming back to court from the toughest of setbacks.

The Brit had odds stacked against him going into the main draw, just weeks after a freak concussion, which involved hitting his head on his own car boot, that saw him miss the start of the grass-court season.

The incident delayed the 30-year-old’s return from an already lengthy spell out to recover from a fractured ankle as the Stockport ace came back to court for the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne just last week, 105 days from his last match.

At Wimbledon, he lost in four sets to Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2, after more than two and a half hours on court but Broady was simply thankful to keep it together for the duration in SW19.

He said: “It was a tough match, Botic is a very good player, it was always going to be a tough ask to come to Wimbledon after having one match in four and a half months.

“It's great to have got almost three hours of one of the better players on the planet and play a match against them.

“The thing I struggled with the last couple of weeks was the migraines and the dizziness.

“But, the last week I've not really had any symptoms. I had a good, physical match in Eastbourne against [Yoshihito] Nishioka, but I don't know if it was just the stress of preparing to play at Wimbledon.

“You don't want to make a fool of yourself, and you don't want anything bad to happen on court, especially when you are taking a wild card spot.

“After the last couple of years, I do believe I can go far in the draw here, and I do believe that I could have done well today.”

Last year, Broady reached the third round of Wimbledon after coming out on top in a famous battle with Casper Ruud and, in September, Manchester’s hard-hitter cracked the top 100.

Monday’s Grand Slam challenge helped Broady put down a marker as he targets a move back up the rankings, currently teetering at the top 150.

He will be in doubles action on Wednesday alongside in-from Billy Harris who is currently playing the best tennis of his career after storming through to his first ATP Tour semi-final last week at Eastbourne.

The duo teamed up too on the south coast and were knocked out in the first round, but Broady believes their doubles partnership could raise some eyebrows in South West London this week.

He said: “I've known Billy for many years, and he's earned these chances that he's taken over the grass more than anyone.

“Everyone sees the cliched stories about him living in his van for a few years and eating nothing but canned tuna and Uncle Ben's rice for three months straight.

“As you climb up the rankings, in my experience, the best players are the best servers and the best returners.

“I think if he can keep developing that side of his game, his groundstrokes are as good as anyone's.

“We played in Eastbourne and got a chance to play there, and we worked quite well together, it will be interesting to see what we can do.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website