Liam Broady embraced the occasion and defied 138 ranking spots to stun Casper Ruud at Wimbledon.
The Stockport player had been in fine form in his opening match against Constant Lestienne, though was handed a much tougher second round test against world No.4 Ruud.
Ruud was runner-up at Roland-Garros last month and has reached three Slam finals in total, though has never made it past the second round at Wimbledon.
And world No.142 Broady certainly looked more comfortable on the surface early on as he rallied from a break down to claim the opening set – only for the Norwegian to quickly turn the tables.
Ruud looked well and truly in the driver’s seat after winning the second and third sets, but Broady summoned all his fighting spirit and ultimately ran away with the match, triumphing 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-0.
It is the biggest win of Broady’s career to date and it is also the first time that a British wildcard has beaten an ATP top-five player at a Grand Slam – a moment that has been a long time coming for him.
He said: “I felt like the occasion can sometimes be more intimidating than anything else.
“I think the real test at Wimbledon on Centre Court is having to almost beat yourself and beat the demons in your head that are trying to stop you from winning.
“It’s easy to say: ‘I’ve had a good match.’ You don’t have to put yourself through the stress of going to a fourth set or to a fifth set. It is more difficult to win than it is to lose. It’s easy to just play a good match and to lose the match, which I didn’t want to do.
“As the match progressed, I was feeling more and more like he was a little bit vulnerable on the grass, to then have that belief and experience to call upon to say: ‘Right, you can win on Centre Court, the opportunity is there – go on and do it.’”
Broady lost his only previous Centre Court encounter to Andy Murray back in 2016, while he has also lost to both previous visits to Court One.
And he revealed that he approached this contest with a fresh mindset, something that ultimately proved key.
“In the past I’d have been nervous coming in, whereas I kind of wanted to see it as a reward,” Broady added. “This is why I play tennis. I’m 29 years old, going into this tournament I’m 150 in the world.
“I only have so many Wimbledon’s left in my career. This has to be seen as a reward – you have to take the bull by the horns with these opportunities.
“I’ve played on Centre Court now twice in my entire career. The opportunity might not come by again for one reason or another.
“Because as hard as it is, you still have to relish the opportunity. It’s the pinnacle of almost any sport, Centre Court of Wimbledon. To have then got the result as well is the icing on the cake.”
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