Naomi Broady: British star who had funding cut by LTA for posting picture of herself next to condom machine wins opening match of Wimbledon 2014
The first Briton to fall at this year's Wimbledon went out shortly after 2pm on the opening day and a familiar woeful tale was unfolding thereafter until Naomi Broady recovered from a set down for a gutsy victory. The male contingent, with the obvious exception of Andy Murray, found the going tough and failed to get going.
Broady, from Fred Perry's native Stockport, has had no Lawn Tennis Association funding for the past seven years because of a youthful indiscretion and almost gave up the sport a year ago. Without her, yesterday would have been a sorry one for home supporters on the outside courts.
Ranked 164, she outlasted the hard-grunting world No 94 Timea Babos from Hungary, 2-6, 7-6, 6-0 to achieve her first Wimbledon success at the third attempt, despite being forced to summon the trainer for treatment to her left wrist after a fall in the second set tie-break.
"We were just being teenagers," she said of the pictures depicting her posing with a condom machine on a clearly enjoyable night out in 2004. "To this day I don't particularly see what was the big deal. I wasn't doing drugs, I wasn't paralytic drunk on the floor. It was just a stupid, jokey pose that looked horrible."
The LTA took a different view and the financial penalties eventually meant that before winning a Wimbledon qualifying match and earning a wild card last year she was preparing to become an au pair "because I couldn't afford to play tennis". She can keep going for a while longer after a win worth £43,000 and can afford to "laugh in someone's face" if the LTA try to claim any credit for it.
Earlier Konta, who was born in Sydney to Hungarian parents but has an accent more like a native of Eastbourne where she now lives, was left to rue missed opportunities after losing in three long sets to Peng Shuai of China, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Despite a big Davis Cup victory this year against Sam Querry of the United States, little was realistically expected of Londoner James Ward against the vastly experienced Muscovite Mikhail Youzhny and little was what he achieved, winning only five games.
Ward cut a subdued figure afterwards, confessing "I obviously didn't play as well as I'd hoped." He was forced to defend receiving £27,000 in prize money, insisting: "The prize money is irrelevant, you don't think about that once. If you have a coach and a trainer around you it becomes expensive to travel the world."
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Dan Cox from Lincoln emphasised the same point after making a better fist of things in taking the third set off France's Jeremy Chardy on a tie-break before going out 6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. "Financially it's very tough," he said. "I don't think people realise."
Teenager Kyle Edmund, born in South Africa and now coached by Greg Rusedski, started well against Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer before conceding the first two sets and was then broken twice in the third for a 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 defeat. Finally, the British No 2 from Birmingham, Dan Evans, went out to Russia's Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6.
Had the Slovenian Aljaz Bedene already gained the British citizenship he hopes to acquire, there would have been no improvement in the nation's fortunes yesterday. The 25 year-old lost to 20th seed Kevin Anderson 6-3 7-5 6-2.
The other Briton in the men's singles, Dan Smethurst plays Tuesday against American John Isner, the ninth seed. In the women's event, Heather Watson, Sam Murray (no relation) and Tara Moore also play today/Tuesday, Murray against Maria Sharapova.
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