home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 9, 2008

James Ward


M. SAFIN/J. Ward
4-6, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Excellent start. Couldn't hold it together for the whole match?
JAMES WARD: No, I started really well. I was confident. I knew what to expect from Marat.
But, no, he broke me early in the second. He put on a lot of pressure. He played well, to be fair to him. I played a poor game at 4-1, as well, to go 5-1 down. I was disappointed with myself there. But went to the toilet, got myself back together.
Again, he came out very aggressive in the third set. I just tried to stay with him as long as I could. Especially in the last game, tried to make him serve it out, put a bit of pressure on him.
I had 30-All in the last game. It was a close point. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it don't.

Q. Can you give us an impression of what it's like to play a former Grand Slam champion on a center court in your home country?
JAMES WARD: It's really good. Good to be back in London. All year you're out traveling. I'm happy to be back in London, playing Centre Court at Queen's. I earned it. Played three good matches with guys who are ranked above me. But I know I can play at that level. I've been practicing with Juan Carlos Ferrero the last four years. He's been a Grand Slam champion as well, so I know what it's all about.

Q. Have you been to his academy?
JAMES WARD: Yeah. I was living there.

Q. How long were you there for?
JAMES WARD: Four years.

Q. You're based here again?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, back in London.

Q. Where are you from in London?
JAMES WARD: From Euston.

Q. A lot of us were very impressed, considering your ranking and your experience, how well you kept everything under control, how controlled your game was. Did you exceed your own expectations perhaps today?
JAMES WARD: Not really. Not really, to be honest. I knew I could play at that level. I don't think I played to my best today either. But, I mean, I'm playing a guy who's won Grand Slams, who has been world No. 1, he knows when to put the pressure on.
Yeah, I had chances. I definitely had chances. Even in the third set, I had him at Love-40 in one game. He produced two big serves again. It was one of those things that went for him today.

Q. James, what needs to happen to take that next step up to where you are, taking those chances?
JAMES WARD: I need to be traveling to tournaments I want to play. That's about it really. I need to get out there. And obviously the finances to get to the places I want to go, to play on the surfaces that I want to play, and to pick where I'm most comfortable would be nice from here on into the future.
Obviously, in the past it hasn't been up to me because of lack of finances. I've always had to go where the budget would let me. And it's quite difficult. But, I mean, I'm surviving. I'm there. And obviously you can see I'm playing good tennis. I just hope to carry that on.

Q. Was the decision to go to Spain a financial one?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, it was, because I wasn't getting any help in England. It was the best academy in the world at the time. I went there, and there were some great players. The life in Spain's better than the one in London. Obviously the weather. Lot of tournaments all year round are on outdoors. Obviously, in England you don't get to practice outdoors a lot. So it was a good opportunity there.

Q. Who is your coach now?
JAMES WARD: My coach now is Keith Gilbert.

Q. Can I ask why you weren't getting any help?
JAMES WARD: Why wasn't I? To be honest, I probably wasn't that great when I was younger. I made semifinals in Nationals, under 15s, and then after that I decided to move to Spain when I was 16. I finished my GCSE's, moved to Spain, and did all my work over in Spain. That was it. Just worked hard. Last four years out on the clay, hard courts as well. That's about it.

Q. Is someone like Tim Henman an inspiration in that when he was 21, he was ranked 250 in the world?
JAMES WARD: No, definitely, I think the average age, as well, to break into the top hundred is about 24. So there's definitely time.
But I don't want to waste any time. I'm working hard. I know I can get there within the next year, year and a half. I'm confident in my ability that I will get there.

Q. The lack of support, I take it you feel you're supported enough now?
JAMES WARD: No, not really, I'm not (laughter). No, I'm not.

Q. Why?
JAMES WARD: I mean, I'm supported a little bit by the LTA. They cover a few costs. But it's not everything.

Q. That's crazy, though, isn't it? We don't exactly have a proliferation of promising young players. Feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall?
JAMES WARD: A little bit, yeah. To be honest, yeah. I mean, I'm not in charge of the LTA, so I can't really say. You'd have to ask them.
But they're helping me out a little bit. I don't want to say they're not helping me out at all. They're helping me out. I'm practicing at the NTC when I'm back here in London sometimes and also mixing that with Alan Jones at the French Connection academy in Hazelwood. I'm mixing my time up a little bit, getting a little bit of both of best worlds.
I mean, most of the time I'm out playing tournaments anyway, so I'm not really around in London much. But when I am, I'm sort of mixing it between those two.

Q. You may not want to say, but is there an example of something you asked for, you didn't get, and wondered why not?
JAMES WARD: Not really, there isn't. I mean, I'm not one to go and ask anyway. I don't think I should have to. I try and let my tennis do the talking rather than me going and beg.
But I think they've seen this week that I've earned it myself. I haven't been given a wildcard into a main draw. I've been given a wildcard into quallies, which I'm very grateful for. But, I mean, I've earned it. I beat three good players ranked well above me. So who knows for Wimbledon.

Q. Is it an overwhelming feeling you took a set off Marat Safin or disappointment at losing the match?
JAMES WARD: Disappointment, if I'm honest. I didn't like how I played the second set. Third set I recovered a little bit. But, again, it was a silly game I gave away early on in the third set. I managed to get myself back.
I mean, I'd be wrong to say I'm expecting to beat him on a regular basis. But I'm at home, home crowd, just played three good matches, I've past quallies, he hasn't played on the grass yet. Who knows what can happen.
So I was disappointed in the end to lose.

Q. There aren't many chances for young players developing to go and stand by a world No. 1, a Grand Slam champion, at his academy, see what it takes. You obviously got an impression from him of what you need to do, the work ethic that is required to be as good as you can be.
JAMES WARD: Yeah. I mean, when I went there, he was still at the top of his game. He was a great example. Now he's a great friend of mine. So we've grown close over the years. I've seen what a great professional he is, how much it does take to reach the top.

Q. Doesn't put you off?
JAMES WARD: No, it doesn't. It doesn't. I love the challenge. I love the challenge.

Q. Do you think Britain has enough natural talent to challenge at the top level and it's not just channeled properly?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I mean, there's good players. I mean, I think traditionally we've always been some of the best in the under 13, 15, 18 age groups. We've had players winning Orange Bowls, things like that, all over the world.
But I don't know. I think people sort of drift a little bit when you get to 18 and they see how hard it actually is to break through. A lot of people go off and do university, parents put a bit of pressure on, things like that. But I'm well-supported by my family. I just hope I can break through sooner rather than later.

Q. Have you got any idea what the effect of qualifying for an ATP Tour tournament will do for your ranking?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, it won't do a lot (smiling). It will give me a few points. But, no, I'm just looking forward to a week of practice now and then hopefully playing Wimbledon. Whether it's in qualifying or main draw, who knows. I mean, at the end of the day, it's up to the All England Club. But I can't have done myself any harm playing the way I have today. I'm just hoping for an opportunity in Wimbledon.

Q. Would you ask for a wildcard for Nottingham?
JAMES WARD: Well, it depends because if you play Nottingham, it's the same week as Wimbledon qualifying. So if I played Wimbledon qualifying, I couldn't play it. If I played main draw Wimbledon, then I would play Nottingham as well.

Q. Have you been given any indications as to whether you might get a wildcard?
JAMES WARD: No, no, not at all.

Q. Are you going to put a phone call in?
JAMES WARD: I've already written a letter. I've written a letter last week to the All England Club, asking them. I don't think the LTA put my name forward, so I wrote my letter, told them who I was, that I existed, and what I've been doing, see what they say (smiling). I know there's eight wildcards, so there's still a chance.

Q. Obviously Andy went to Spain. You've gone to Spain. Do you think that's the most successful model? The LTA should concentrate on financing people to go overseas and train?
JAMES WARD: I'm not sure. I think it's a very good education, going over there and see the amount of players that want to work hard. Now we've got the NTC in London. You can't complain about facilities now. They're unbelievable. You've got every different surface. You're treated very well there when you go there to practice. Everyone's really nice. So, I mean, I can't complain about that. But definitely Spain seems to be the way forward at the moment.

Q. Do you think there's the same work ethic around the NTC that there is at an academy like the one you were at?
JAMES WARD: Good question (smiling). Personally, I don't think so, no. A lot of people don't know what it takes to actually get to the top. I mean, I'm in the game to get to the top. I'm not in there to be around 250, just taking freebies off the LTA. I'm not in it for that. That's why I had my decision to move to Spain. Now I've come back, so...
I don't really want to say too much (laughter).

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297