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."

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

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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own