Clarke determined to not let Wimbledon loss dampen career-best year

Jay Clarke does not believe Wimbledon defeat to Christian Harrison will derail what has been his best-ever start to a season.

Derbyshire’s Clarke, who benefits from the LTA’s NTC Access programme, providing cost-free access to courts on all three surfaces, coaching, trainers and the LTA’s tournament bonus scheme, and Harrison were locked at 5-5 in the third set when play was suspended on Monday night, with the American sealing a 7-6 (3) 6-1 7-6 (6) when play resumed on Tuesday – saving three set points in the breaker.

There was naturally disappointment for Clarke who admitted he needs to dictate play more, but he does not perceive this as a setback.

He said: “I just need to do more, try and play more matches on my terms. It’s tough because that’s one of my tendencies to kind of just always put the ball in, and as the level goes up and the ranking goes up, players are all good and they do make more than they miss.

“I need to take more initiative and I know I can do it. Actually, when I do it, I give myself a big chance like I did when I came on court today. I just need to do that more often – then I should be okay.

“It’s the best start to a year I’ve had: Challenger final, Challenger win, 20-something matches won.

“I’m feeling good. There were some tough draws for me in the grass tournaments, but I’m happy where my game is at.

“I just need to continue this level when I do get back to the challengers, and I should be good.”

Many players would have struggled with the halt in play overnight, but the 23-year-old revealed that he thought it could work to his advantage.

However, he did reveal some frustration about missing those three set-point chances to extend the match to a fourth set.

He added: “The ball checked on at 6-3, then I kind of overran it and played it long, and then played safe at 6-4, tried to chip it, and went long. That was it really. I was too careful on my end and he went for it and, and that was it.

“I was glad we stopped when we did. I don’t know if I would have had the chance to come back today if we kept playing even two more games. It was really tough for me yesterday.

“I knew that if I was able to put like 40 minutes of good work in at the start I could be two sets all – I almost took the third.

“It was a tough match, but he played well. He’s come through qualies, he’s confident, and he deserved it.”

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