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June 27, 2016

James Ward

London, England

6‑0, 7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel? It started grim, but you came back at him.
JAMES WARD: Yeah, look, it was an ugly start. But I actually felt like I was in a few of those games. I had three breakpoints. It could easily have been 2‑All because I had advantage and I was up as well. I didn't get too discouraged with that start.
The more the games go on, you start panicking, especially against a guy who is making so many balls. Everything you hit is coming back.
But my first‑serve percentage wasn't great in the first set. I had to try and make a few more. Sometimes you almost think you have to do more than you have to in that situation. Then things start going really quick. You have to try and calm down a little bit.
Yeah, I'm proud of myself the way I turned it around because it could have been ugly.

Q. What was going through your mind at 3‑nil down in the second set?
JAMES WARD: Hope for a game.
No, make more first serves. I knew I was going to keep getting my chances. It's easy to sit there and say that now. Yeah, you just got to keep going and give yourself a chance. I mean, he's not going to make every ball for three sets.
So, yeah, that was it.

Q. What was the experience like of walking out first two men on Centre Court?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, obviously it was an unbelievable day. Spent a bit of time at Wimbledon. Now I'm a member and I've been out on that court when no one's around, just to have a look.
When it's full up and everyone is cheering for you, you're playing against the world No.1, it's a day you remember for the rest of your life.
You know, as I say, I'm proud of my efforts. I just didn't want to get back home tonight and regret anything. I think I made the most of my chance. It could have easily been different if I took those breakpoints in the second set at 5‑All.
I didn't expect him to go wide on the first one, or the second one I think it was. He went big, served backhand.
But it is what it is. He was serving on big points. He was going T a lot on the ad side. I kind of covered that. The one where I chipped it, I expected myself to do a bit better on that.
But, again, look, a couple of chances, you don't get that many, if you don't take them, there's not much you can do.

Q. What kind of changed for you in the second set? Daunting situation you were in. You rallied really well and fought back. What changed? What was going through your head?
JAMES WARD: As I say, look, I thought in the first set, it was a bit unfair that it was 6‑Love. You got to back yourself, you got to keep trying. You got to play for the rest of the match.
It could quite easily have gone 6‑Love, 2 and 2. But I fought well. I picked my level up, got the crowd involved, which helped.
Yeah, I think that was the main thing.

Q. Did you feel you had him ruffled in the second set?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, for sure. You saw him missing some balls there that he didn't miss for the rest of the match. Especially the game I held from Love‑40, I think, in one of those games. That was big. That throws everyone off. He is one of the greatest of all time. Everyone is human. Getting the crowd a bit more involved, maybe he's a bit more upset.
He wants to play how he played in the first set. Suddenly it's a bit of a different ballgame. He's not going to enjoy it as much.
Yeah, as I said, look, the level was tough throughout the whole match. But I thought I turned it around well.

Q. Maybe a funny question. I read on Wikipedia you sold your Arsenal season tickets to get your career going.
JAMES WARD: No, it's not true. Need to change that because everyone asks me that every year.

Q. How can you get a season ticket as a tennis player?
JAMES WARD: That's the reason I kept them, but I rent them. I hardly ever go to the games. That's the answer.

Q. You said some of your Arsenal mates might be coming here today. Were they here?
JAMES WARD: No. They're in Miami, in L.A., enjoying life. I don't blame them. No one was really around.

Q. Djokovic, before these tournaments, he doesn't play a conventional warmup. Do you sense any kind of rustiness from him or does he come in up to speed?
JAMES WARD: Best question of the day, that one (laughter).
No, I didn't sense too much rustiness. He's moving unbelievable. He makes you play so many balls. He returned very well. Yeah, I mean, you know what you're going to get. But when you're actually playing him, it's different to watching from the sidelines. I've watched him play Andy many times, even here. I don't think he started slow at all, no.

Q. Did you have a chat with Andy? If so, what did he tell you?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I spoke to him last night on the phone for a little while. He was good. I'm not going to give away what he said. Probably a few tactics that he uses.
The basis was, You've got to try and take those chances when they come. He moves great. Try and get the crowd involved and get things on your side. Just be attacking.
It's tough to win a lot of those rallies. I won a few of them. But, as I say, he keeps making you play so many balls. He returns so deep through the middle of the court, straightaway you're on the back foot. Even when you get the ball back, it's tough to change and be aggressive because he's looking to change direction all the time and make you move.
It's just trying to limit that as much as possible. As I said, it's not easy to do. It's not easy for me to do. It's not easy for Andy to do.
I turned it around well, served better, and that was the main thing.

Q. What can you take from today, in terms of it being a great occasion and in terms of the fact that you gave him a hard time, for the rest of your season?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, it was a great day. Look, no one's going to take that day away from me. I'm proud, as I say, of my efforts.
Going forward, I think it's a good platform. I've seen what I can do against the world No.1, especially when it started off really tough, to turn it around. You see a lot better players than me lose a lot easier than that in that sort of scenario. I'm happy with that. I take a lot from that.
Also just realize that sometimes you don't need to overplay with those guys. I practice a lot with Andy. Obviously I never played with Novak, never practiced with him. They're different players.
So, yeah, maybe I'll play a little bit differently from the start next time. But the occasion's massive.

Q. You were telling us the other day about the knee problems, injections. Did you have to have anything before going on court today?
JAMES WARD: No, no, I felt good. As I say, the last sort of week or so has been good. I'm happy where I am physically at the moment. Moving around all right. Not as good as him, but not too bad.

Q. What's next for you? Do you feel like this can be a good platform for you?
JAMES WARD: Of course. Look, going forward, big summer coming up. As I said the other day in press, the main thing is to stay healthy because I've had so many issues this year.
Me and Kyle have got doubles here as well. We'll look to practice tomorrow and see what we can do in the dubs and give it our best effort.

Q. Sky asked you about the political news of the week. You were quite positive about the outcome. Is that right?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I voted out. I'm not fussed about saying it. I don't know others who are or not. But, yeah, I voted out. I'm happy with my decision. I think we'll be all right. Everyone needs to stop panicking and we'll be fine.

Q. What were your reasons for voting out?
JAMES WARD: Now we're getting... I'm not going to go into that.

Q. You're not worried that it will cost you a bit more on the tour?
JAMES WARD: It may do. But it's still an expensive life out there anyway. I don't think it's going to change too much.

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