I've earned myself a beer, says Willis after Wimbledon dream ends
Published 29/06/2016 | 12:06
British tennis player Marcus Willis said he has "earned himself a beer" after his Wimbledon fairytale came to an end when he lost to seven-time champion Roger Federer.
The world number 722 was a surprise competitor in the second round, beating world number 54 Ricardas Berankis on Monday to book his second round clash with the Swiss star.
The 25-year-old could not contain his excitement as he walked on to centre court, beaming from ear to ear as his loyal supporters - dubbed the Berkshire Bulldogs - chanted "Federer is terrified, Willbomb's on fire".
Saying that he hoped to back next year, Willis told the BBC: "I can hold my head high, I have had a fantastic few weeks."
Asked if he would be celebrating tonight, he added: "I am absolutely exhausted so I might wait. I have earned myself a beer now."
Willis managed to win seven games against Federer, saying after the match that he had gone out there to win.
With the roof closed the Berkshire Bulldogs' chants of "Shoes off if you love Willis" sounded louder than they had on Monday.
He looked emotional as he soaked up the applause of the crowd at the end of the match, and acknowledged the player's box where his girlfriend, Jennifer Bate, and family members sat.
Asked about his opponent, Federer said: "He's got a career after this. He definitely made the most of it. He enjoyed it.
"Must have been so much going on. It's not been simple for him as well to handle it. But I thought he handled it great on the court. I wish him the best."
Earlier Ms Bate said Willis being at Wimbledon was "absolutely crazy" and that they were enjoying every moment.
She added: "'But with Federer whatever happens it's win, win. Losing to Federer is hardly a problem."
But there was good news for the Brits as Johanna Konta won a singles match at Wimbledon for the first time as she overcame an awkward rain delay to beat Puerto Rico's Monica Puig.
She will play the winner of Canada's Eugenie Bouchard and Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova in round two.
Konta was ranked 126th in the world a year ago but after reaching the fourth round at the US Open and then the semi-finals in the Australian Open, she came into the tournament 19th and as the first British woman to be seeded at SW19 since Jo Durie in 1984.
Rain delayed play on the outside courts for most of the day on Wednesday, with four hours of play being lost the day before.
Wimbledon announced the first round of the men's doubles would be cut from best-of-five-set to best-of-three contests, in an effort to help with the schedule.
Soon after his centre court match Willis was trending on Twitter.
Speaking in a post-match press conference he said the experience of playing Federer on centre court was "amazing".
Describing the day as not his "standard Wednesday", he added: "It was all just a blur. It was amazing. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up.
"I loved every bit of it. Not the duffing bit. I loved getting stuck in, fighting hard.
"Nothing in particular, just the whole experience was incredible."
He revealed that after his match he drank a bottle of lager.
A number of famous faces, including Bond girl Gemma Arterton, Sir Trevor McDonald and Sir Cliff Richard, attended day three of the tournament.