British No4 James Ward received an unexpected boost yesterday after his first round opponent David Ferrer withdrew from Wimbledon with an elbow injury.
Instead of facing eighth seed Ferrer tomorrow, a player who had contested 50 consecutive grand slams dating back to the 2002 US Open, Ward will now come up against world No113 Luca Vanni of Italy, who is ranked three places lower than the Englishman.
Vanni, 30, has minimal grass-court experience and has only played one previous match in the main draw of a grand slam, losing to Australia’s Bernard Tomic in four sets at this year’s French Open.
Ferrer was a potential fourth round opponent for fellow Spaniard and former world No1 Rafael Nadal, with the victors a possible quarter-final obstacle for Britain’s Andy Murray. Ferrer tweeted: “Unfortunately, I cannot play Wimbledon with an injured elbow. Hope to recover as soon as possible.”