Despite losing in straight sets to Roger Federer, underdog Marcus Willis is all smiles. Sporting a white t-shirt with ‘RF’, Federer’s initials, the 25-year old played in front of 15,000 spectators on Centre Court. The left-hander is now an overnight sensation, getting past three playoffs, three qualifiers and first-level match before being beaten. Federer won 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
Willis calls his dream run a “fairytale”. Willis beat No 53 Ricardas Berankis in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, becoming one of the only two Brits to make it into the second round; six others crashed out.
Thanks so much for the support! Means the absolute world! #willyonarampage
— Marcus Willis (@Willbomb90) June 27, 2016
Willis is now the worst-ranked qualifier to reach the second round of any major Grand Slam since world ranked No 923 Jared Palmer made it to the 1988 US Open. Roger Federer has described his success as “One of the best stories in a long time in our sport.”
Marcus Willis is a Briton who has relocated to the US where he is a tennis coach. He coaches 50-year olds for £30 an hour. It was in Philadelphia that he met his present girlfriend, Jennifer Bate, who convinced him to pursue his career. “I was a bit of a loser. I was overweight,” he says, “I just looked at myself in the mirror. I said, ‘You’re better than this’.”