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June 7, 2011

James Ward


J. WARD/S. Wawrinka
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is that the best it's ever been?
JAMES WARD: Probably not my best tennis, no. But obviously my best win in my career so far, so I'm obviously pleased with it, yeah.

Q. A little bit of a tight finish? Were you pleased the way you held your nerve there?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, obviously serving for it in a big match like that is not easy. I felt I held my nerve pretty well, and obviously I had a couple of chances in the game before where I maybe went for the wrong option, but it happens in that situation. Just glad to get the job done in the end.

Q. How important was it to play in the tiebreak as well as you played it, confidence-wise, going into the second set?
JAMES WARD: I mean, if I play well, then who knows? I can give myself a good chance against anyone if I serve well, especially on glass. It was lucky that I got up in the tiebreak which gave me a bit more confidence and obviously started the second set well as well.

Q. He was losing his rag, as well?
JAMES WARD: Not really, no. I mean, it happens to everyone. It doesn't change things.

Q. Where would you say you play better in terms of pure tennis?
JAMES WARD: Probably Eastbourne last year. I played really well against Feli and then against Schuettler, as well. I think that was probably my best. Other than that, Davis Cup, really.

Q. Is it fair to say that a lot of matches at this level you go in as the underdog, and does that give you incentive?
JAMES WARD: I think so. A little bit. Obviously it's his first match on grass, so I have to put things into perspective. He's a great player, but it is his first match, and I've been playing a week in Nottingham last week as well to warm up for the tournament, which I think has helped me.

Q. Now it's important that you build on this win and also to get further ahead into the tournament?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course. I think I play Sam now. Don't know whether it will be tomorrow or Thursday. But he won it last year, so he's obviously a top player, as well.
As I said at the end, if I play like I did today and serve well, then I give myself a chance.

Q. You controlled that match throughout from the baseline. How much confidence does that give you against a player of his class?
JAMES WARD: It's good. It wasn't easy to move on that court. Once you went one way, if you go back behind it's tough to get back.
I think that was the main thing, you know. Whoever got control of the rally first pretty much ended up winning it. Can't be too defensive on there, and I think he played it a little bit too defensive and tried to chip too many balls.
He caused me a lot more problems when he hit it, but in the end the rallies weren't as long, so I think it worked out for me.

Q. With your ranking, you're a little bit isolated. You're obviously quite a long way behind Andy but quite a long way ahead of others. Do you often find your tournaments you're the only British player in the draw?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, there is. If you look at the Challenger tour, I've been the only one who has been playing main draws now for a long time consistently, but obviously that's a big step up now to play ATP main draws consistently. And I have been mixing a lot of quallies as well.
But again, you come up against top players. It's just about grinding away, trying to win as many matches as you can and earning the right to be in the best tournaments all year-round.

Q. What in particular do you think you'd need to do to make that extra step?
JAMES WARD: I just started working with a new fitness trainer, which I think is my main thing. You know, I'm not the biggest guy there is out there. Just bulking myself up a little bit and getting a bit more explosive around the court, I think it will help me a lot.

Q. Who is your fitness trainer? Who is your coach now?
JAMES WARD: My coach is Tomislav Peric, a Croatian guy. And my fitness trainer is Diego Visotzky. He was an MMA cage fighter before. (Laughter.)
Yeah, I think it's good. He's taught me a lot and given me a lot of discipline, and obviously I'm not going to answer him back too many times. (Laughter.)

Q. How did that come about?
JAMES WARD: I was working with a fitness trainer when I was living in Spain a few years ago, but he does a lot of work with Almagro and a couple of other players, and he hasn't really got enough time to travel with everyone to different tournaments. So this is his best friend, and he gave me the contact and we started about three weeks ago.

Q. Is he quite scary?
JAMES WARD: He is a little bit. I mean, you should see a picture of him. Yeah.

Q. What's his country?
JAMES WARD: He's from Argentina.

Q. Has he put you in a cage yet?
JAMES WARD: He hasn't, but he keeps getting me in headlocks and that, which is not nice. (Laughter.) Not too much back chat.

Q. Is there much in common, do you think, between cage fighting and tennis?
JAMES WARD: Not really, if you see the way he looks and the way I look. No, a lot of it is the way he talks and the way he acts and how professional he is.
He knows if he goes in the ring and messes around, he's going to get beaten up. And the same sort of principle on court. You know, if you don't go in there prepared, you go down a break early on and it's tough to fight your way back the better players you play.
A lot of it in sport is the same. I just have to keep working and try and learn as much as I can from him.

Q. Does he go on the road with you, or is it just when you're...
JAMES WARD: Yeah, he's here in London. We just started three weeks ago, so I don't know what's going to happen, his situation and mine. But at the moment things are working out, so hopefully he can travel with me a lot more, as well.

Q. What do you think he might have done had you lost today?
JAMES WARD: I don't want to think about it. (Laughter.)

Q. Has he worked with other tennis players before?
JAMES WARD: No, no. First time. He was walking around tournaments for a long time with all his fighting gear on, so I had to give him a lot of Fila stuff to make him try and blend in a little bit. He looked like he was a bodyguard. I don't need one of them just yet.

Q. Was he the guy with sort of close-cropped hair with the Fila track suit?
JAMES WARD: I think so. Possibly. He had a blue sweater on him with my initials. I gave him the Aegon jumper thing. He's happy with that.

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