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June 10, 2011

James Ward


J. WARD/A. Mannarino
6-2, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you describe such a most wonderful week and the two wins today?
JAMES WARD: I mean, obviously it's the best week of my career so far. Hopefully it doesn't stop here. You know, I'm looking forward to playing the next match tomorrow against Tsonga. Yeah, delighted in how it's gone so far.

Q. It was crazy today. Querrey, defending champ to start with, and the drama of tonight?
JAMES WARD: Yeah. Obviously just one set for both of us. It was a good chance for us both. I got through that one.
And then not knowing which court we were going to play on because of the rain and stuff. We were waiting around a little bit. And it's not easy for us both.
And then also a tough six match points in the second-set tiebreak, it's never easy to come back from that. I kept fighting and giving myself a chance.

Q. When you took your break between the sets into the second-set tiebreak, beginning of the third, were you just telling yourself to forget it, get on it, get to the third and compose yourself?
JAMES WARD: Yeah. It wasn't the best start to the third. Yeah, I mean, you're not going to give up at this point in the tournament.
I mean, it doesn't happen ever but especially here, you know, when you've got so much good support from the crowd, helping me a lot and making me believe I could still get back into it.
I had broken him before so there was no reason why I couldn't do it again.

Q. You seem extraordinarily cool about the whole thing, very composed. Have you thought about the enormity of what might be happening over the next couple of days?
JAMES WARD: Not really. Obviously at the time at match points you get a bit nervous, you know. You know what's at stake. You know what sort of tournament you're playing here and the opportunities that are available.
But at the end of the day you just got to try and keep doing what's got you to that position, and in the end I got it done.

Q. Did you see that David Cameron was in the crowd?
JAMES WARD: I was told afterwards. I didn't see him, but obviously it's great he enjoys tennis as well and I'll hopefully get a chance to meet him another time.

Q. Have there been moments today particularly when you've thought out on court, it struck you what you're doing here and being on the courts in Queen's, being in the semis at Queen's?
JAMES WARD: Obviously it does come into your mind; I'm not going to lie. It's always in your mind. But you have to try to put it to one side and concentrate on the tennis and do what I've been doing, and that gave me the chance to get to the semis.

Q. How calm were you last night? How well did you sleep last night?
JAMES WARD: I slept fine. I slept all right. Yeah, I got to bed quite early, which I was happy about; hopefully again tonight.

Q. During that second-set tiebreak, did you actually feel your body being tight?
JAMES WARD: I was very tight, yeah. I think we both were, you know. You could see in his reaction, as well, how much it meant to him when I hit a couple of double faults or he missed the forehand in the net, and there were stupid mistakes from us both at crucial times.
But it happens, you know. Look at what's on the line. And it's a great opportunity for us both playing each other. So I think it's quite normal, yeah.

Q. Do you feel that your experience in Davis Cup with your crowds getting into the match, that kind of stands you in good stead in this circumstance?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course. I've played in Queen's the last three years as well, which has been nice and it feels like home here, which I am. I only live 20 minutes from here. So it's nice.
But all the courts are great here, and the support is always nice, as well, just like it is at Davis Cup. It's easy to play in those conditions.

Q. If this is as good as it gets as you've known so far in terms of -- not so much the result, but just the whole atmosphere and, you know, big tournament, big crowd, how low does it go? What was the worst place, dingiest place, smallest crowd you've played?
JAMES WARD: I don't know to pick out one now, but obviously playing futures tournaments and some challengers as well there is not big crowds and not a lot of people there. That's why you're working.
You know, you're trying hard to get to these tournaments and get to these opportunities which I've been given by Leon and Chris Kermode, as well, which I'm grateful for. And obviously this week I made the most of it.

Q. But you can't put your finger on the least salubrious place you've been in the last 12 months?
JAMES WARD: Not really, no.

Q. Has it been tough financially, James?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course. It always is, you know, but I get great support from the LTA and from Aegon, as well. Aegon funds me and helped me to travel and pay for a coach, as well.
So obviously I couldn't be able to travel the world without that support. But it still is -- it doesn't cover everything, you know. There's still a lot of expenses, and now I've got a new trainer, as well, so I have a coach and a fitness trainer. It is expensive. So all the help is greatly appreciated.

Q. This is your biggest payout, 20,000 for reaching the semis?
JAMES WARD: Oh, I didn't really look, if I'm honest. I always wondered about that. But do you think about it when you're on court? You don't. You're just worried about playing and getting through and getting the win. Then the points and the money, they come after.

Q. Have you had a lot of family and friends here?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, everyone's been here. Family is always keen to come and a lot of friends, as well, so it's nice to make the most of it, this opportunity.

Q. Do you have trouble getting enough tickets for them?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, no, everyone at the tournament here is really good, so they help me out quite a lot.

Q. You always believed this would happen, though, haven't you? You've always believed in yourself, that it would turn in your favor and you would get these kind of wins?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course. I mean, I played with a lot of good players and practiced over the years with top players and always found myself doing well in practice sets, always holding my own.
And I always thought that given the right chance, the hard work would pay off in the end. Obviously the last few weeks have been really good for me.

Q. Were you even vaguely aware of what was happening on the other court and who you might be playing?
JAMES WARD: You could hear a little bit. I heard Nadal won the first set, but then after that the drama was happening on our court. I wasn't really too fussed about the next opponent, especially when I was 2-Love down in the third. I wasn't really thinking about who I was going to play. I was trying to find a way back into it.

Q. A word on Tsonga?
JAMES WARD: Tsonga. I mean, what do you want me to say? He's one of the best players in the world. There's not much to say.
I will obviously try and do the same what I have been doing against Wawrinka and Querrey, ask a few people and see what they've got for me. But a lot of it depends on my game, as well, and try to play to my strengths and hope for the best.

Q. Have you had any contact at all with Andy Murray this week?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, I've seen him. Obviously he's here. I would have seen him quite a lot. He's always wished me well and wished me good look. Yeah, we're getting on fine.

Q. Did he give you any particular advice for any of your matches?
JAMES WARD: No. I didn't ask him. I didn't ask him, really. I have had other people. Leon has been helping me out a lot, as well. So I haven't asked him.

Q. Has the thought occurred to you you might meet him in the final?
JAMES WARD: No, I haven't been thinking about the final. I have been thinking about the next round.
Every time I've come in here you told me who I'm playing in the next round, so obviously -- who knows, you know? If another win tomorrow, then I'll play Andy in the final. I've got to focus on tomorrow first.

Q. Did Diego say anything to you afterwards?
JAMES WARD: Oh, he's obviously happy, same as everyone else in the team.

Q. Given that Andy has played Tsonga seven times, would you possibly ask him for any tips for tomorrow's match?
JAMES WARD: I can do. I will send him a message later on and see what he's got for me.

Q. You have had to dig deep in Davis Cup matches, and if you think back to the playoff at the NTC a few years ago, as well, do those experiences help you -- that was a three-set grass court match, but you have endured a hellishly long second set. Can you draw on that experience at any stage?
JAMES WARD: I wasn't really thinking about any matches in particular while I'm out there.

Q. Just the experience, you know you can last out there.
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course. That's why you're working hard off court and in the gym and with your trainer, you know, because you've got to be ready all the time. I think it has helped me a lot being more physically ready for this grass court season.

Q. Nick Bollettieri said that beating Sam Querrey would really catapult your pro career. I know you haven't had much time to think about it, but is that something that excites you?
JAMES WARD: Yeah, of course, you know, someone like that to be talking about you and saying those things is obviously great, but I need to keep things in perspective and just keep each match one at a time and look forward to playing tomorrow.

Q. Can you recall ever missing so many match points in a set and coming back and actually getting the job done?
JAMES WARD: No, if I'm honest. But it happens, you know. It was a tight match for us both and a lot of chances. But, yeah. I mean, it hasn't happened that -- I haven't played a tiebreak 16-14 in a very long time.

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