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THERE would be no further fireworks for Berkshire's Marcus Willis and partner Jay Clarke on Manic Monday of this year’s Wimbledon - but the duo are adamant their run is only the beginning of things to come, writes Pippa Field.

Handed a wildcard entry to this year’s Championships, Wokingham star Willis and Clarke had belied the fact they only played together for the first time a fortnight ago by reaching the third round of the men’s doubles.

The defending champions and second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert had been dispatched amid raucous scenes on Saturday – the Brits second fifth set match in a row – to set up Monday’s clash with Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic.

But in a little under two hours on court 14 the fairytale was over, as the 16th seeds reestablished order in SW19 with a straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win.

A bringing back down to earth for the British duo, but the prospect of what could lay ahead for the new partnership left them both looking ahead with optimism.

Willis, a former pupil of The Forest School in Winnersh, said: “We’ve got things to improve but the exciting thing is we’ve beaten the number two seeds and defending champions without any doubles experience together so it’s quite exciting for the future.

“We will play together when we can and I think we bring out the best in each other.

“Jay is obviously a very good player on all surfaces, especially clay, and I’m going to try and avoid the clay like the plague.

“Sometimes it might not work playing together but we’ll still play doubles and try and get our combined ranking up.”


Facing experienced duo Marach and Pavic, the Brits found it tough going from the outset on Monday, with ten break points against them in the first set – although just one was required by their opponents to edge ahead.

The second set was a closer affair although Marach and Pavic again got the crucial break before sealing the match on a tie-break in the third.

“They played very well, we got unlucky with everything today really, with line calls, net cords and they played better,” added Slough-born Willis, who joked he would be spending his winnings on baby milk and nappies for his baby daughter.

“I thought we still played ok but they were better. We were well up for it, as we are every match.

“We can beat anyone but we can also lose to a lot of people. It’s on the day. You need luck in tennis.

“We got some the other night, although we played fantastically, things went our way a little bit.

“We didn’t get anything today but that’s the way it is.

“Saturday night will be one of the best days of my life, it was a massive upset in front of a home crowd on a big stadium. It doesn’t really get better.”

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