Introducing Wimbledon wonder boy and British hero Marcus Willis

Jun 29, 2016, 18:48 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Marcus Willis is the the new British hero at SW19. The tennis player, ranked 772 in the world, has just lost his second round clash with Roger Federer at Wimbledon. And no, HE IS NOT RELATED TO BRUCE WILLIS

Marcus Willis is the the new British hero at SW19. The tennis player is ranked 772 in the world and has just lost his dream second round clash against Roger Federer at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Willis booked his 2nd round clas with the Fedex after beating world number 54 Ricardas Berankis. Willis' success at Wimbledon comes at a time when the nation is grieving from the national football team's exit from Euro 2016. 

And no, for all the 'geniuses' out there, HE IS NOT RELATED TO BRUCE WILLIS.

The unheralded Willis defeated Berankis 6-3 6-3 6-4 on day One of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to become the talking point in Britain.

He may have lost to World number three and 17-time Grand Slam winner 0-6-0, 3-6-3, 4-6, but he won hearts at the Centre Court. 


Best.Day.Ever. #willyonarampage #bulldogs #fight

A photo posted by Marcus Willis (@willbomb90) onJun 27, 2016 at 11:56pm PDT

So who is this Marcus Willis?


#awaydays #montpellier #dreamteam #fit 🐸

A photo posted by Marcus Willis (@willbomb90) onMay 28, 2016 at 2:59pm PDT

The 25-year-old had almost abandoned his pro career earlier in 2016 but was convinced to carry on by his girlfriend, dentist Jenny Bate.

He was charging 30 pounds an hour for private lessons and pondering a trans-Atlantic move to coach in Philadelphia this year.

Willis reached the third round of the Wimbledon boys' tournament in 2007 and 2008.

His career earnings when he arrived at Wimbledon were under $100,000.

By getting to the second round, Willis is guaranteed at least $65,000.

He coaches at Warwick Boat Club, as well as a playing club tennis in France and Germany.

Willis has earned just £258 this season on the tennis circuit. He still lives with his parents.

Willis attended Forest School in Winnersh.

He is ranked behind 22 other Britons in the domestic rankings.

His ranking of 772 in the world means only fellow qualifier Albano Olivetti (791) has a lower ranking. It means the duo are the lowest-ranked players to qualify for a Grand Slam since 1998.

Willis used to be overweight. He listed his weight in November 2014 as 115 kilograms. He has since lost 30kg.

Americans nicknamed him 'Cartman' after the 'big-boned' character in the satirical cartoon South Park. He took to calling himself 'Cartman' on Twitter and would used the hashtag '#tubster'.

Willis came through six rounds of qualifying to earn his debut at the All England Club.

Having come from Wokingham, Willis supports Reading Football Club.

Willis' first club was Latika in Berkshire.

He started playing tennis from the age of nine.

Before picking up tennis, he was a badminton player and even played at a national level.

Willis, known to his friends as Willbomb, trained with world No 2 Andy Murray at the junior level.

In 2014, Willis had set up a pledge web page in order to raise money to fund his career. In his own words, "my ultimate dream is to play at Wimbledon". He set 2015 as his target date and raised £2,185 and, even though it is a year late, he realised his dream.

Willis admitted he was an "overweight loser" and was "seeing off pints" three years ago.

The 25-year-old is the lowest-ranked qualifier to reach the second round at a Grand Slam since number 923 Jared Palmer at the 1988 US Open.

Willis is also the lowest-ranked player to reach the second round at Wimbledon since number 861 Tommy Haas in 2015. In the first round, Haas defeated number 86 Dusan Lajovic who was ranked 775 places higher. By contrast, Willis' opponent on Monday, number 54 Ricardas Berankis, was ranked 718 places higher.


Rained off today, back at it again tomorrow! Having a blast. #willyadventures #wimby #fight

A photo posted by Marcus Willis (@willbomb90) onJun 23, 2016 at 3:22am PDT

Willis earned a wild card into men's singles qualifying after winning the LTA Wimbledon wild card play-off. The last time a British wildcard into men's singles qualifying reached the second round of the main draw was number 661 Chris Eaton in 2008. He beat number 114 Boris Pashanski before losing to Dmitry Tursunov. That was also the last time that any British qualifier won a main draw men's singles match.

Willis has already achieved one of his ambitions -- meeting 2001 champion Goran Ivanisevic.

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