British wildcard James Ward insists there are greater rewards than the minimum £100,000 he has earned by beating big-serving Czech Jiri Vesely and reaching Wimbledon’s third round yesterday.
On a day when fellow Briton and world No3 Andy Murray also progressed after dismantling Holland’s Robin Haase, Londoner Ward guaranteed himself at least £77,000 in prize money irrespective of the outcome of his last-32 clash with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.
Victory also ensures that Ward, who is currently ranked No111, will surge into the world’s top 100 and gain automatic qualification to the US Open main draw. First-round elimination in New York would still see Ward pocket a further £23,000.
“Everyone’s got bills to pay. I’m no different to anyone else in this tournament who is in this position but it’s not something I’ve been thinking about,” said Ward. “I’m more worried about my ranking and achieving my goals than the prize money.”
British No4 Ward reached the third round of the tournament for the first time after overcoming Vesely 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, shortly after Murray had completed a quick-fire 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Haase. He was quick to highlight the mentoring qualities of British No1 Murray in the wake of his victory although the Scot has thrown the gauntlet down to his Davis Cup teammate and urged him to feature at this stage of tournaments more regularly.
“The challenge for him is to play at this level on a more consistent basis,” said Murray. “I hope he sees that he can play at this level all of the time.”
Slovenia-born Aljaz Bedene failed to make it a clean sweep of British success, losing in four sets to Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, but not since 2002 and the era of Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have two home nations men made it to the third round.
Factoring in Heather Watson, who plays five-time champion Serena Williams today, it is the first time since 1999 than Britain has three players remaining at this point of proceedings.
Murray wrapped up the first two sets in 50 minutes, losing only a solitary game in each. Haase showed greater fight in the third but Murray still eased through, and now faces 25th seed Andreas Seppi of Italy in round four tomorrow.
Order of play
▀ Dimitrov  v Gasquet 
▀ Djokovic  v Tomic 
▀ Williams  v Watson
▀ Wawrinka  v Verdasco
▀ Sharapova  v Begu 
▀ Cilic  v Isner