Centre court at Wimbledon

Samuel living dream after Wimbledon win

Toby Samuel revelled in a dream Wimbledon debut after the wildcard prevailed in his opening round match at Wimbledon Qualifying.

Bournemouth player Samuel, ranked No.543 in the world, was a significant underdog for his match against Antoine Bellier, with the Swiss ranked No.291 in the ATP Rankings.

However it was the Brit who consistently looked the better player in Roehampton on Monday afternoon, dictating play throughout.

And it was the 20-year-old who ultimately picked up a deserved victory, prevailing 6-4 7-6(5) in just an hour and six minutes to reach the second round.

“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” said Samuel.

“It’s my first ever Wimbledon, playing against a great player. I think I went out there with no pressure, just played my game and played loose, and in the end I came out on top – which is amazing.

“You can’t play your best if you’re not enjoying it. That’s why I started playing and I’m going to keep enjoying it throughout my career, as that helps me play my best.”

Samuel has played a lot of doubles on grass courts in recent weeks alongside Connor Thomson, reaching the semi-final of the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham and quarter-finals of the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy.

And he credited his doubles experience for improving his overall game, and one aspect in particular that he believed proved crucial in his win over Bellier on Monday.

He added: “I’m really happy with my volleys. I never volley, I never come forward usually, and I thought as it was a grass court, I might as well try. 

“I hit some of the best volleys of my life – I certainly wasn’t expecting that. I just kept coming forward and making good volleys, that was just incredible.

“Playing more doubles has made my game more complete, getting myself more to the net and being more comfortable at the net.

“I enjoy grass – it’s definitely a lot of a different surface to the others. I’ve played a lot on hard courts and grass is definitely quicker points, faster tempo. 

“You’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to be on it. Especially if your opponent is serving well, you’ve got to be really focused on every point.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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