Liam Broady admitted a sense of shock after a stunning comeback secured a first round victory in his first ever Grand Slam match at Wimbledon.
Broady recalls his first practice session with Andy Murray, claiming he was rubbish, but he booked his second round place before the British number one, who opens his All England Club campaign against Mikhail Kukushkin on Tuesday.
Two sets down and staring a first round exit in the face, the British number six kept his cool in sweltering temperatures to storm back from two sets down to set up a second round tie with Belgium’s David Goffin.
And the 21-year old wildcard had Court 18 in raptures as he ruthlessly exploited Australia’s out-of-form Marinko Matosevic, progressing 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
“It’s not really sunk it yet, I’m not sure it will. I didn’t start well, I could have won the first two sets but I knew I had time to get myself back into it,” said Broady.
“I needed to get that break but once I won the third I thought I would do it. It feels so great to win my first Grand Slam match. I do it for my coaches as much as myself, but it’s hard to get your head around.
“I have improved as a player and mentally since playing in the juniors here. Andy Murray has helped me, he has put so much time into younger players. When I first practiced with him I was rubbish.
“I hope it adds to the feel good factor a British player doing well on day one. It was incredible, I didn’t know if I could win a match at Wimbledon before today but I hope this pushes me on.
“I have had to grow up quickly, finding out about things like filing your tax returns! I see this as a reward, it’s great and I have nothing to lose now.”
Things looked ominous from the earliest of moments, the 181-ranked prospect was broken in his first game and things didn’t improve before he finally found his feet.
Slumping 7-5, 6-4 the writing looked on the wall before he found life to take the third 6-3.
But the Englishman discovered his teeth and with his opponent’s confidence at a career low after ten straight defeats before SW19, Matosevic wilted in the sun.
Broady was formidable in the fourth, playing the type of tennis that once prompted talk of the Mancunian eventually succeeding Murray as Britain’s Centre Court king.
And the fifth was all about picking his moment, twice breaking Matosevic to conclude a three-and-a-quarter-hour early-tournament epic, guaranteeing him £47,000. His career prize money earnings before stood at just £66,000.
“That money will go into a hole somewhere for when I need it,” he added. “Travel for the tournaments perhaps – I probably spend 40 weeks on the road a year so I’ll save it for that.”