Ward and Goodall mark Wimbledon cards with timely battling displays

The sun was shining but in most other respects the mainstream British grass-court season opened here in familiar fashion yesterday. You can always rely on a fair sprinkling of home players on the first day of the Artois Championships and you can usually expect some battling displays, even if the final results are predictable.

Alex Bogdanovic, Josh Goodall and James Ward were the Britons in singles action this time. All three lost, though Goodall and Ward could be more than satisfied. Both faced players with two Grand Slam titles to their name, Lleyton Hewitt beating Goodall 6-4, 6-4 and Marat Safin beating Ward 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Bogdanovic lost 6-3, 6-3 to Australia's Joseph Sirianni, the world No 161.

Three other Britons play today. Andy Murray, who with his partner Daniel Vallverdu beat Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Mahut in the first round of the doubles last night, meets Sébastian Grosjean, Dan Evans plays Xavier Malisse and Richard Bloomfield faces Fernando Gonzalez.

With Murray the only guaranteed starter at Wimbledon in 13 days' time, the other Britons will anxiously await an All England Club announcement today about its eight wild cards. The Lawn Tennis Association wants them to be given just to players ranked in the world's top 250, which would mean that Bogdanovic (No 243) and Jamie Baker (250), who is recovering from a serious blood infection, would be the only recipients.

Wimbledon, however, does things its own way and it would be no surprise if Goodall (269), Bloomfield (412) and Evans (988 but arguably the country's best junior) were given cards. Jamie Murray, who does not even have a singles ranking, has also asked for one.

Goodall, who served well and looked far from uncomfortable against Hewitt, said he agreed with the LTA's ranking target, while Ward (495) has been used to life without handouts. The 21-year-old Londoner, who played with great assurance in taking the first set off Safin, earned his place here by winning three rounds of qualifying and spent four years at Juan Carlos Ferrero's academy in Spain.

Did Ward, who is now based in Britain, think there was as strong a work ethic at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton as he found in Spain? "Personally I don't think so, no. A lot of people don't know what it takes to actually get to the top. I'm in the game to get to the top. I'm not in there to be around 250, just taking freebies off the LTA. That's why I decided to move to Spain."

Ward had won less than £13,000 in prize-money before this week. In defeat here he earned £2,734, while he would take home £10,250 as a first-round loser at Wimbledon. "I wrote a letter last week to the All England Club, asking them [for a wild card]," he said. "I don't think the LTA put my name forward, so I wrote to tell them who I was."

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003