Willis back at the Boat Club after his Wimbledon heroics

Marcus Willis acknowledges the crowd after his defeat to Roger Federer.
Marcus Willis acknowledges the crowd after his defeat to Roger Federer.

British tennis’ man of the moment Marcus Willis will be the star attraction at Warwick Boat Club’s tennis open day on Saturday.

Fresh from his fairy-tale run to the second round of Wimbledon and a meeting with seven-time champion Roger Federer, Willis will be playing in an exhibition match as part of an event in association with Active Away Tennis Holidays.

Boat Club coach Willis was a virtual unknown until coming through six qualifying matches to reach the main draw at the All England Club and his star rose even further when he beat world number 54 Ricardas Berankis on court 17 on Monday.

The victory made headlines worldwide for the 25-year-old and although he suffered a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Federer in the second round, the world number 772 did not look out of place on centre court.

“I was enjoying it out there,” said Willis who picked up £50,000 in defeat. “If I’m playing quite well and competing with Roger Federer for a couple of sets, I’m doing the right thing.”

It was back to reality for Willis today, with the Slough-born left-hander expected to team up with Boat Club tennis manager Gavin Henderson for a Coventry League match at Coventry & North Warwickshire tonight.

However, Willis does not want the Federer defeat to be his tennis swansong.

“It sounds funny, but I’m disappointed to lose. I went out there trying to win.

“I’ve had a fantastic few weeks, and this has been great, but there’s life after Wimbledon, and I want more. More experiences like this. I have to knuckle down and work harder.”

To that end, Willis will be going back out on the tour next year, having already worked out a plan with Henderson.

“I sat down with him last week and he told me he wanted to go back on the tour,” said Henderson who was at Wimbledon for the second-round clash.

“He’ll be coaching three days a week and on the tour four days.

“I’ve got him coaching until the end of the year and we are trying to get him sponsorship so he can get back on the tour in January.”

n Free coaching will be available from 12.30pm on Saturday, with Willis’ match getting under way at 3pm.