'Cartman' makes dream Wimbledon start

2016-06-27 21:11
Wimbledon (File)

London - Britain's Marcus Willis, ranked at 706 and who had made just $65 on tour this year, reached the Wimbledon second round Monday where he could face Roger Federer in a pulsating rags-to-riches saga.

The 25-year-old tennis coach defeated Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, ranked 652 places above him, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

The beefy left-hander had been on the verge of quitting the sport in February to take up a coaching job in the United States.

But then he met dentist Jenny Bate, who became his girlfriend, and she persuaded him to have one more shot.

And the gamble has paid off in spectacular style.

Willis was last into the pre-qualifying competition for Wimbledon, where he played three matches and then battled through three more qualifiers to book a place in not only his first Grand Slam event but his first main tour competition.

Willis, nicknamed 'Cartman' after the South Park cartoon character's portly physique, hit 43 winners and saved 19 of 20 break points out on a raucous Court 17 in an astonishing performance.

Willis plays mostly club tennis in France and Germany and earns his money as a coach at the Warwick Boat Club.

He still lives with his parents in Wokingham in southern England, a consequence of his lowly status in the game.

But his run to the second round at the All England Club and a likely match-up with 17-time Slam winner Federer has already guaranteed him at least £50,000 ($66,000).

"Marcus Willis -- how good is that," tweeted world number two Andy Murray.

Read more on:    wimbledon 2016  |  andy murray  |  tennis

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