WIL­LIS FALLS SHORT OF RE­TURN

The National - News - Sport - - RUGBY UNION -

Mar­cus Wil­lis’s dreams of another day on Cen­tre Court at Wimbledon evap­o­rated as the English­man lost in the fi­nal round of qual­i­fy­ing. The 26-year-old, who de­fied his rank­ing of 772 to reach the Wimbledon sec­ond round and a Cen­tre Court date against Roger Fed­erer in 2016, lost 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 to Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko in a match where both play­ers re­quired at­ten­tion from the trainer. Marchenko, seeded ninth and ranked 117 in the world to Wil­lis’s 374, had a prob­lem with his neck while the left­handed English­man called for the trainer and played on with a knee strapped up. Wil­lis, who won six qual­i­fiers to reach the main draw 12 months ago where his mag­i­cal run was even­tu­ally ended by Swiss star Fed­erer, will have to con­tent him­self with ap­pear­ing in the dou­bles at the grass-court grand slam event in Lon­don next week for which he has ob­tained a wild card. The 18-yearold, whose tal­ent has been recog­nised by be­ing in­vited along to train with both the Bri­tish Davis Cup team and by world No 1 and fel­low Bri­ton Andy Mur­ray at the French Open, went down 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.

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