London, Great Britain, 28 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Alex Bolt has secured a coveted main-draw spot at Wimbledon 2024 with a incredible come-from-behind victory.

The 31-year-old recovered from a two-set deficit for the first time in his career, saving a match point in the process, to triumph 6-7(2) 2-6 7-6(7) 7-5 6-4 against Switzerland’s Leandro Riedi in an epic final qualifying round encounter.

“You couldn’t write a better script for the journey I’ve had this week,” beamed an emotional Bolt after the three-hour and 41-minute battle.

The world No.234 wasn’t even originally in the men’s qualifying singles draw, then found out he had snuck in as an alternate a mere 10 minutes before his first-round match.

After recording three victories this week, Bolt will now make his first appearance in a Grand Slam singles main draw since Australian Open 2022.

“I don’t know if it has sunk in yet,” Bolt told “I’m just super proud of my efforts to hang around in the match. I had opportunities in the first and let that slip. I kind of let that take control of my mind for the next hour and a bit. He got the second as well and started playing really good tennis. I just kept hanging around, hanging around and managed to turn the tide. It’s unreal.”

A steely Bolt recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the third-set tiebreak against world No.138 Riedi, then saved a match point at 5-6 with a forehand winner.

“Two-sets-to-love down, match point down, you’re not usually coming back after that,” Bolt admitted.

Although this was Bolt’s first five-set encounter since Australian Open 2020, his big-match experience proved telling in the end against his 22-year-old opponent.

“I think both of us were feeling pretty fatigued there in the fifth,” acknowledged Bolt. “I just stayed stronger mentally and managed to scrap the break at the end.”

Bolt rated the improbable victory as “definitely top two for me”, ranking it alongside saving four match points against Frenchman Gilles Simon at Australian Open 2019.

His attention now turns to preparing for his third Wimbledon main-draw appearance. He last featured in a Wimbledon main draw in 2021, when he progressed to the second round as a wildcard.

“I’ll keep an eye on (the draw tomorrow) to see who I’m playing and go from there,” said Bolt, who also qualified at Wimbledon in 2018.

“I’m just super happy to have qualified for another Slam. I’ve got all the confidence in the world now. I have three really tough matches under my belt, had good time on court so I’m seeing the ball well.

“I shouldn’t even be in the tournament, so I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Bolt’s efforts increase the number of Australians in the Wimbledon 2024 men’s singles field to 10, marking our highest representation since 2018.

World No.9 Alex de Minaur was one of nine Aussie players to receive direct acceptance into the draw, alongside Jordan Thompson, Alexei Popyrin, Chris O’Connell, Rinky Hijikata, Aleksandar Vukic, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Max Purcell and Adam Walton.

James Duckworth’s quest to join them fell just short, with rising Estonian Mark Lajal scoring a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory in their final qualifying round clash.

The 21-year-old Lajal proved untouchable on serve, winning 90 per cent of first-serve points and saving the sole break point he faced throughout the one-hour and 40-minute encounter.

The silver lining for world No.78 Duckworth is that he could potentially still be elevated into the main draw as a lucky loser, if there are any withdrawals in coming days.

Main-draw action at the prestigious grass-court Grand Slam begins on Monday 1 July.

Aussies in action – Wimbledon

Men’s qualifying singles, final round
[Alt] Alex Bolt (AUS) d [32] Leandro Riedi (SUI) 6-7(2) 2-6 7-6(7) 7-5 6-4
Mark Lajal (EST) d [4] James Duckworth (AUS) 6-4 6-4 6-4

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