Ward rues failure to build on big start at Wimbledon

Alex Ward was beaten by Kyle Edmund on Court No.3
Alex Ward was beaten by Kyle Edmund on Court No.3

It all started so well for Northampton's Alex Ward.

In the first set of his first round tie at Wimbledon, Ward laid a marker down against fellow Brit Kyle Edmund.

The former Pitsford School pupil produced some power-packed forehands that left Edmund needing to fight fire with fire.

But he couldn't in the opening game of the match, with the Great Britain Davis Cup player seeing his serve broken.

Ward refused to look back, storming to a 6-4 first-set success.

It all looked good, with the big Cobblers fan belying his world ranking of 869.

But Edmund, ranked 50th in the world, bounced back with the class he has already shown he possesses.

And after Ward failed to take a break point at 5-3 down in the second set, it was one-way traffic, with Edmund comfortably claiming a four-set win at a humid Court No.3.

"I played well throughout the first set and I just struggled to keep that up really," Ward said.

"He got better. I think he might have been a bit nervous at the start, but he started to play well and I struggled to keep up with him.

"I played a lot of matches already in pre-qualifying and qualifying so I was seeing the ball big and I was ready to go from the start.

"It was a tactic to go out there and start strongly from the first point, it's just a shame I couldn't keep it going after the first set really."

On the missed chance to break back in the second set, Ward said: "It was the one chance I had in those three sets and I couldn't take it.

"That was probably the turning point.

"It was definitely a chance and I remember that point well."

But despite the defeat, Ward could hold his head high.

He won three qualifying matches at Roehampton to get to the first round of the prestigious tournament.

And the fans on Court No.3 showed their appreciation for the 27-year-old, who walked away with a big smile on his face.

"It felt great," Ward said of the support he received. "I felt like they were really trying to give me a boost and help me out, especially during the last couple of sets.

"I got a great ovation when I came off the court. That was fantastic."