Reid set for Grand Slam debut
Matt Reid will make his Grand Slam main draw debut at the All England Club on Monday when he faces Radek Stepanek in the first round of Wimbledon.
Deep in the third set of his first round qualifying match at Roehampton, any thoughts of contesting the main draw of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships were far from Matt Reid’s mind.
The 22-year-old from New South Wales was battling a tough opponent in 22nd-seed Somdev Devvarman of India, and as the score extended well beyond 6-6 – they play an advantage third set at Wimbledon – Reid’s body began to fail him.
But in a display of herculean physical and mental strength, the world No.213 managed to cling on, recording an epic 7-6(4) 4-6 18-16 victory.
“I was pretty knackered,” he revealed on Friday at Wimbledon.
“Towards the end of it I actually started to cramp a little bit. Mentally it was draining, it just kept going and going, and finally I got through at the end.”
Reid impressively followed up that win with victory over Israel’s Amir Weintraub and then a four-set defeat of American Tim Smyczek – the No.8 seed in qualifying – to progress to the main draw at a major for the first time in his career.
Given he’d never before passed the second round in a Grand Slam qualifying event and he’d failed to qualify in either of his grasscourt tune-ups in Nottingham and Queen’s, the result was a pleasant surprise, and one he nominated as his career highlight.
“After my lead-up on the grass I wasn’t too confident, and I just wanted to try and get in there (to qualifying) and not be the first one out, to be honest,” he said.
“After I won that long match, I kind of built a bit of confidence and won the second one, and before I knew it I was in the main draw.”
Reid said that a contributing factor to his excellent performance at Roehampton was the fact he won a round in doubles with Sam Groth at the Australian Open earlier this year, which boosted his self-belief.
Further steeling his resolve was the fact that he was getting closer to qualifying at the majors, but falling a hurdle or two short; he revealed his disappointment at not being able to play the main draws in Melbourne or Paris.
And now the Aussie finds himself up against world No.48 Radek Stepanek in his opening match, the Czech whom Reid’s compatriot Nick Kyrgios sensationally upset in the first round at Roland Garros just three weeks ago.
“I actually was with Nick when I found out the draw and he’s already given me his tactics and what he used to play him,” Reid said.
“I’m sure I’ll be really nervous walking out there, so hopefully I can get off to a good start.
“It (has been) a great few days for me, really exciting, and I just can’t wait to get out there and play.”