With Kyle Edmund departing on Day 3 of Wimbledon, all the home hopes in the men’s draw will be residing with Dan Evans and Jay Clarke. It’s unlikely the young Clarke will go much further though, with Roger Federer being his opponent for their second round clash.
20 year-old Clarke has been slogging away on the Challenger Tour the past year and finds himself at just inside the top 170 thanks to a couple of titles, most recently on the clay in Anning, China. His ranking secured him a wildcard for this tournament but there wouldn’t have been high expectations for the Brit if his grass form was anything to go by. He lost his opener in all four grass tournaments but managed to end that run here with an impressive four set win over Noah Rubin.
Federer’s first round matchup with Lloyd Harris did not end as quickly as many expected, with the South African actually taking the first set before Federer won in four sets – 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-2. “I just felt like [the court] was slow. I couldn’t really have any impact. He was doing a good job of returning me… I wasn’t hitting my spots, and he was reading my serve, or he was just doing a good job,” Federer said on his performance.. “I just struggled. As my legs weren’t moving, it’s hard to see the short ball. In defence, you’re weak. The next thing you know you’re struggling. That’s what I had going. But I think with my experience I stayed calm. I know I have other things in the bag that I can come up with, other tricks. I just took a bit of time.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Federer vs an up and coming Brit does not take precedence on Centre Court but will be on Court 1 instead. Clarke has little chance of picking up the shock victory but it is a good opportunity for him to test himself against one of the best. “I’ll go out there and I wouldn’t play above myself, I’ll just play my game. That’s the best test to actually see where I’m at. If I start doing stuff I don’t normally do, then I wouldn’t really learn anything.” he said. “I’ll always try to do what I do, maybe a bit higher tempo or a bit bigger serving in certain moments. I’ll stick to the way I play and then just see how it goes.”
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets