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June 12, 2012

James Ward


4‑6, 6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ What was your verdict from the match today?
JAMES WARD:テつ I started really well, played a great set.テつ Served well.テつ First‑serve percentage went down a little bit second and third set.テつ He kept his up.テつ I had a few chances.
Yeah, there's not many chances against a player like him.テつ If you don't take them, then he'll take his.テつ That's what he did.

Q.テつ He has got one of the best serves on tour right now.テつ How big was it?
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's halfway up the box half the time.テつ Especially on grass, it slides away from you.テつ It's tough to get back, anyway.テつ The further back you stand, the more it opens up the angle for him and he can really, yeah, use the angle.テつ So it's difficult.

Q.テつ When you saw the draw‑ obviously it's quite a significant week for you‑ did you kind of think, Oh, shit?
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, it wasn't ideal.テつ But, yeah, it wasn't one of the best draws you could get.テつ But it happens.テつ Just gotta deal with it and didn't do too badly.テつ You know, I thought I played all right.
Gave myself a chance, especially in the second and third and had him at Love‑40.テつ Missed a forehand that I wouldn't expect myself to miss, but then he goes and hits two aces again and it's tough.
Like I say, slight chances, and if I take that chance, I'm sitting here the winner.テつ If I don't take the chance, I've lost the match.テつ Small margins.

Q.テつ How about progress through the year, James?テつ Give us kind of your debrief on how you think the year has gone.
JAMES WARD:テつ I started well in Australia, passed quallies there.テつ It was a good start after a tough preseason.
Then I came back and had a few bad trips where I lost bags and things, and it set me back a few weeks to Russia and what have you.テつ Then I played Davis Cup.テつ Davis Cup takes a lot out of you, as well, you know.テつ I have played every time I have been asked.
The first time was ‑‑ well, this year especially was twice in quick succession.テつ We played straightaway in February and we came back again in April.テつ It takes weeks out of your calendar and weeks where you can't really get points, but I'll always do it.
So then after that it's difficult.テつ You finish on a Sunday night to then get to a place in maybe Asia or America to play possibly the Monday or Tuesday.テつ It's very difficult.
So you have to weigh up whether it's worth even going after you have just played possibly twofive‑set matches.
Then I went to the States and didn't shy away from playing the bigger tournaments.テつ Went and played Miami and Indian Wells and Delray Beach and Memphis, played the big ones.
I lost to some good players over there.テつ Everybody is fighting to do the same thing.テつ Everyone is playing well.テつ The Americans, on the hard courts, that's what they live and practice on, you know, all the time year‑round, so they're good on it.
So it was a tough time.テつ I came back and I decided to cut the clay court season a little bit shorter and just maybe play a week or so before it in Rome before Paris, and I went to Asia before that, which worked out all right.
Then now I'm here, so I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks.テつ It's nothing to be too depressed about.テつ Yeah, then on to the States after Wimby again.

Q.テつ Is this your busiest year travel‑wise?テつ Have you ever traveled...
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, I have.テつ I traveled the last five years the same, the same as every player, I think, so guys who like obviously staying in one place more than others.
But I've done a lot of traveling this year.テつ As I say, Australia, come back, States, Asia, it has been busy and we're only in June.テつ It's nice to be home now, and hopefully the next couple of weeks I can take an opportunity I have been given and look to building on it for the rest of the year.

Q.テつ How do you stay positive when you're having tough weeks?
JAMES WARD:テつ It's difficult.テつ Support of obviously family and friends and your coach around you that believes in you and knows that you're working hard, you know, whatever anyone else may think.テつ Everyone is entitled to their opinion, you know, but if you don't see what goes on every day, it's tough to judge.
Yeah, we're working hard to close the gap.テつ I don't think there is a big gap at the moment.テつ As you saw today, it's a couple of points in it.テつ If it goes the other way, everyone is saying what a great day at Queen's it was again, you know, but it wasn't to be.
I look forward to Eastbourne, work on everything at Eastbourne and then Wimbledon. テつObviously if I can make third, fourth round of Wimbledon, no one's going to be talking about this match at Queen's.テつ That's the reality of it.テつ Yeah, stay positive.テつ Keep working hard this week, and I look forward to next week.

Q.テつ Are you saying you think there is a lot of unfair criticism of British players?
JAMES WARD:テつ I didn't say that, but sometimes it does happen, you know.テつ If you're not there and seeing what I do all year round‑‑ not personally to me, because I think the press have always been very fair to me.テつ They know I'm not afraid to go away on trips and spend a lot of time alone and travel around the world.テつ It's difficult, you know.テつ It's not easy.テつ Not many people like to do it.
But, yeah, I mean, I train as hard as anyone else out there in the top 100, and I'm obviously being supported well by the LTA for that, and it's something I'm trying to make the most of and the opportunity they've given me.
It's no quick fix.テつ It doesn't just happen in a week or so, and it takes a few months to get stronger.テつ I need to get stronger and build myself up.
Again, it's going to take a few months, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll be a different player.テつ But at the moment you've got to deal with what you've got.テつ At the moment I'm still not too far away.テつ It's still the positive side of things.

Q.テつ Are you assuming or is it built into your plan that you'll get a wildcard for the Olympics?
JAMES WARD:テつ No, it's not built in.テつ I've asked about it, and obviously I would love to play it, being in London and stuff, but it's on the calendar.テつ I have planned a calendar with it and a calendar without it.テつ At the moment I'm planning without it.
But you can always fit it in if you have to, but I'll probably be in the States for the tournaments.テつ If I have to fly back for it.テつ It's a good problem to have.

Q.テつ Do you encouragement from how so many players are coming through at a later age these days and how they're sustaining their careers for longer?
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, of course.テつ There is a lot of guys in the top 100 who are 24 onwards, so you look at the locker room upstairs, it's full of the guys.
It's the nature of it, you know.テつ A lot of guys mature at different ages, and I myself, as well, I have only started playing properly on the main tour and challengers for the last two or three years, and you've got to get used to it and it's a tough life out there.
As I say, there is a lot of traveling involved and a lot of training weeks and a lot of time away.テつ It's the same for everyone.テつ I think some guys deal with it better than others.テつ It's something I'm trying to do well at the moment.

Q.テつ On that argument, the amount of traveling that you do, do you think that perhaps we underestimate the necessity to have more tournaments in this country?テつ There was a decision taken about four or five years ago we should make everyone go abroad and become men and go off and play all these tournaments in these godforsaken places.テつ Do you think if we had a better tournament structure in this country it would help our players develop?
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, it's difficult, you see, with the weather.テつ It's not like you can play in tournaments in the States.テつ Everyone doesn't want to play indoors through February, March, April, May, when you can play outside in sunshine in the States.
The same calendar has been there years and years.テつ It's normally known you go Australia, then go to the States for Indian Wells and Miami, come back and you start the clay and grass, and then States again for US Open and then Asia.

Q.テつ Plus you have more challengers.
JAMES WARD:テつ Yeah, of course.テつ But also the argument on the other side is there is not enough players ranked highly enough to be in them.テつ Why should we plan and put on a challenger if we haven't got players who are going to play in them and who are going to compete and to win matches?テつ Because you can give people chances, but at the end of the day, you want people to win matches.
It's something that everyone‑‑ all the guys have to pick up their game, you know.テつ Me included.テつ I'm not exempt to that at all.テつ But as I said, I'm lucky for the chances I get in these bigger tournaments.テつ It's only a small time of the year, but I'm still doing all the work I'm doing during this time throughout the rest of the year, as well.
People don't see that you're doing this all year‑round, you know.テつ There's a lot of focus on the grass.テつ And especially I did well last year, but you've got to put it into perspective, as well.テつ It was a great week, but that's not always going to happen.
As you saw, sometimes the draw has to be favorable to you, and this year it wasn't.テつ But you can't complain about that.テつ Who knows?テつ Next week at Eastbourne, who knows what's going to happen?テつ And Wimbledon the same thing.テつ Wait and see.

Q.テつ When you're playing at Queen's, Eastbourne, Wimbledon, and you talk about people who haven't seen your training and what you do the whole year round, a lot of these people are turning up and just expecting or hoping that a Brit can pull off a win, turning up to Wimbledon.テつ Then when it doesn't happen, they get quite critical.テつ Do you feel that there is pressure or do you get annoyed at the expectation?テつ What is it like as a British player at this time of year?テつ What goes through your head?
JAMES WARD:テつ Obviously I give myself a chance to win matches there.テつ I'm not going in there thinking, I can't win matches or I've got to have the best day of my life to win a match.
I have beaten a lot of players in the top 100 over the last two, three years, as well.テつ Obviously there are better grass court players out there.テつ A lot does depend on your draw.
But, you know, it's nice to be at home.テつ You obviously do feel the pressure.テつ You can't get away from that, because, as I say, people talk about tennis for this month, and then the rest of the year one forgets it.
Obviously the big focus is on the British guys here, especially at Wimbledon, but, you know, it's life.テつ You've got to deal with it.テつ If you don't want to deal with the pressure, don't play.テつ You've just got to suck it up and get on with it.

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