The Tennis Centre’s James Ward has topped off his good form in 2009 by becoming the British number two.
Ward, who has improved massively over the last 12 months, cracked the worlds top 250 for the first time in May following his tournament win in Sarasota, Florida and has not looked back.
He had an impressive summer notching his first ATP tour win against Victor Crivoi at Eastbourne as well as making his debut appearance at Wimbledon.
Now standing at #204, the 22-year-old Londoner is brimming with confidence and will be looking to carry on his meteoric rise up the rankings.
Ward said: “It’s a great feeling to be ranked number two behind Andy (Murray).
“The last year has flown by and it seems everything has clicked for me.
“The grass court season was really encouraging for me as I got my first ATP Tour win.
“Playing on court one at Wimbledon was unbelievable and hopefully I’ll be able to play there again soon.
“I still have a long way to go if I’m going to achieve my ultimate goal of getting in the top 100 but I’m feeling good right now so we will have to see what happens.”
This month Ward has been in Brazil where he played two Challenger events.
At Campos Do Jordao he advanced a round before coming against experienced Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela who he lost to 3-6 2-6.
Disaster struck for James Ward last week as he became ill a day before his first round match at The Manta Open in Ecuador.
Despite feeling awful brave Ward dragged himself out of bed to play against local hope and world number 472 Juilo Cesar Campozano.
Ward, who is now the British number 3, could not compete to his full ability and lost 6-3 6-2 in 61 minutes.
This was a big shame as had he been fit he would have had a great chance of going deep into the draw.
He said: “I shouldn’t have played the match as I got really sick.
“I wasn’t able to play anywhere near my best tennis which was very frustrating as I had been looking forward to the event.
“I’ve come up against highly ranked opponents in recent weeks and I thought there was a good chance of getting a few wins under my belt.
“I love travelling the world playing tournaments but occasionally the food isn’t the best which is a problem!
“I’m now at home recovering and hopefully I’ll be back on the tour as soon as possible.”
Ward made his first ever appearance at Wimbledon this year playing against Australian Open semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco. Read the match report here.
Check out his most recent results here.
James Ward has warmed up for his first ever Wimbledon match against Fernando Verdasco by hitting with former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero over the weekend.
Ward has become close friends with Ferrero after joining his Equelite Acedemy based in Valencia age 15.
The British number four told me yesterday that his preparations for his match have been going very well and that he is feeling in great shape going into the match.
This is a massive occasion for James and The Tennis Centre wishes him the best of luck.
The match will be taking place at around 4pm today on the BBC.
The Tennis Centre’s James Ward has drawn Fernando Verdasco in the first round of Wimbledon in what will be the biggest match of his career.
Ward is making his first ever appearance in a grand slam and playing against the Spanish number seven seed is a perfect opportunity for him to showcase his talent on a world stage.
Ward, who recieved a wildcard into the main draw, cannot wait to get on court at SW19.
He said: “Wimbledon is the biggest tournament of the year and it will be an honour to be involved.
“To play in a grand slam in your home city and in front of your own fans is a dream come true.
“A match against Verdasco is massive and I’ll just go out and do the best I can.
“There is nothing to lose and I feel I have been steadily improving on the grass in the last couple of weeks.
“The transition from playing on clay has been tough but I won my first ATP Tour match at Eastbourne so that is a big step forward and I’m feeling good about things.
“I have been serving well which has contributed to my recent good form and hopefully I’ll be able to continue doing this at Wimbledon.”
Read a recent article on Ward on the Islington Gazette website.
The Tennis Centre’s James Ward will be appearing on your television screens tomorrow morning on GMTV.
Ward will be joined by his father Jim on the GMTV sofas ahead of his debut at Wimbledon next week.
The British number four has been given a wildcard into the main draw thanks to his rise into the top 250 players in the world.
The Tennis Centre team wish him the best of luck in his first interview on live TV!
James Ward has crashed out of the Eastbourne AEGON International narrowly losing to Frank Dancevic 7-6 6-4.
Despite the loss Ward showed his class with a series of flashy winners and massive serves which left the crowd open mouthed.
He lost just six points on serve in the first set with Dancevic hardly making a return and was unfortunate to lose a close tie break 8-6.
In the second set the British number four lost his way momentarily falling 3-0 behind but with the home crowd cheering him on he was able break back twice to level at 3-3.
Dancevic threw his racket fiercely onto the ground after losing the three game advantage and this seemed to help the Canadian as he re-gained his focus to break Ward again to make the score 4-3.
Dancevic made no mistake in his next two service games winning the set 6-4 which silenced the Eastbourne spectators.
I noticed him look back at his coach and puff his cheeks out at the end of the match as if to say ‘I’ve been lucky to come through this’.
Ward was on form today and certainly made life extremely uncomfortable for Dancevic who is an experienced grass court player.
The Tennis Centre’s James Ward has advanced into the second round of the Eastbourne AEGON International by beating world number 87 Victor Crivoi 6/1 6/3 in just 52 minutes.
Ward played some superb tennis to see off the 27-year-old Romanian who has been rising up the rankings recently with wins over the likes of James Blake and Fabio Fognini.
The British number four will now play Frank Dancevic in the next round.
Ward has put his good performance down to having some tough practice sessions with seasoned professionals Leyton Hewitt and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
He said: “I was really pleased with how I played today. I served and returned really well which was key.
“This win is a significant one for me as it is my first in an ATP event and this will give me a lot of confidence going into the next round.
“My practice sessions with Hewitt and Ferrero at Queens have really helped me to settle in on the grass and I am feeling more and more comfortable on this surface.
“My next match against Dancevic will be a tough test however I think I have a chance if I play like I did today.
“He likes to serve volley and chip and charge so I’m going to work on my passing shots tomorrow with my coach in order to prepare well.
“He is a talented player and will come up with some great shots and I’m looking forward to it.”