Dan Smethurst's Wimbledon wild card a tribute to tireless work ethic

The 23-year-old Briton has been rewarded for breaking in to the world's top 250 players

tennis correspondent

Some critics scoff at the handing-out of Wimbledon wild cards to Britons they consider to be undeserving, but few players will have worked harder for their place at the All England Club this year than Dan Smethurst. The 23-year-old Briton has toiled tirelessly since the start of the season to improve his world ranking and received his reward when he was named among the first batch of recipients of Wimbledon wild cards.

The Lawn Tennis Association recommends that wild cards are given only to British players ranked in the world's top 250. Smethurst, from Lancashire, was the world No 403 at the start of this year but was determined to break into the top 250 in time for Wimbledon. He has played 51 matches in 2014 – four more than Rafael Nadal, who has been the most active player among the leading men – and finally broke into the top 250 last month.

"It's been a long year," Smethurst said. "I just kept my head down and got on with improving my ranking. Now, after getting the call, it's really tough to put it into words. Looking back it was almost an impossible task to go from 400 to 250 in the world rankings in the space of five months. So to have done it is a bit of a shock and I'm just really proud. It's been a lot of matches, a lot of winning and a load of stress on the body, but it's been worth it.

"This is what you dream of. I've been watching Wimbledon since I was four and have been going to watch since the age of seven. I'll try to get advice from as many players as possible as to how to approach this.

"It's my first Wimbledon. I really don't know what to expect so it's important that I do my homework. I have to go out there and concentrate on putting my best game on the court. I'm not going there to soak up the atmosphere and I'm very focused about what I have to do. I'm just so pumped about this."

Wild cards have also been awarded to Dan Evans, James Ward, Dan Cox, Kyle Edmund and the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Wild cards into the women's singles have been given to Naomi Broady, Samantha Murray, Tara Moore and the Czech Kristyna Pliskova.

Johanna Konta, who will play at Wimbledon by dint of her world ranking, was the last Briton left in the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston but went out of the tournament today when she was beaten by Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak.

Naomi Broady, who has been given a wild card, has never reached the second round of Wimbledon.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions