Broady ready to end 49-year wait for next British boys' champion

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Liam Broady will this afternoon have the chance to claim a second Wimbledon title, which considering he is just 17 and British would be no small achievement.

Broady yesterday beat Jason Kubler 6-4, 6-3 despite an occasionally erratic performance and will play Luke Saville, another Australian, on Court One today seeking to become the first home boys' singles champion for nearly half a century.

Broady won the boys' doubles with Tom Farquharson last year and is enjoying an even more memorable fortnight that has seen him practise with Novak Djokovic, turn down a hit with Andy Murray (not through choice – he was due on court) as well as advance to the last four of the trophy he won last year.

That semi-final, in partnership with the Slovak Filip Horansky, comes later today but first will be his attempt to become the first British boys winner since Stanley Matthews in 1962. "I've done a lot better than most people would think to get here already, so I'll just go out there and play my tennis and see what comes of it," said Broady.

The teenager from Stockport appears to be handling the growing interest in his progress with the assurance of an old pro, although he is also clearly relishing it. "I've been getting so much support," he said. "It's been great. Around the grounds people have been saying well done. I saw Johnny McEnroe the other day. He said congratulations."

The step up from junior to senior level is one that is growing ever wider. The last Briton to reach the boys' final was Miles Kasiri in 2004 where the 18-year-old lost to Gaël Monfils. He was later suspended by the Lawn Tennis Association for a perceived poor attitude and drifted out of the sport.

Broady is making his way without the support of the LTA, a decision taken by his father, Simon, after Broady's sister, Naomi, had her funding suspended for postings on a social networking site about nights out. Simon Broady felt his daughter had been made a scapegoat and has steered his own course ever since.

Broady began well, taking an early break off Kubler, a player who was once rated back home on a par with Bernard Tomic. But the Australian soon broke back. Broady has shown himself to be a fine returner and his thumping forehand earned him the set with a second break. He wore Kubler down in the second set and served out for the match.