MARCUS Willis is relishing his upcoming Wimbledon Championship Qualifier with fellow Briton Liam Broady later this week, likening the clash to a chess match, writes Fiona Tomas.

Wokingham's Willis hit the headlines in 2016 after qualifying for Wimbledon for the first time and taking on seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the second round.

The 26-year-old former Forest School pupil could grace the courts in the men’s singles again this year, after beating Slovakian Andrej Martin 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of qualifiers at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton on Monday.

The Slough-born player will take on Broady in the second round after the latter’s win over Canadian Frank Dancevic, and Willis is under no illusion what a difficult clash it will be.

“I’ve played him a few times, I’ve lost a few, won a few, it will be a very difficult match and he’s a very good player,” said the world number 374.

“He knows what I’m going to bring, I know what he’s going to bring, it will be like a chess game.

“It was great to get the win, great to be back here, and so far, so good.

“You can’t go in having doubts, otherwise you’d lose pretty quickly! I just try and win each point I play and look after the serve as much as possible.

“It’s great having the home crowd cheering you on, it’s everything you want really.

“But I’m not putting any added pressure on myself this year.”

Willis’ fellow Berkshire player, Neil Pauffley, has vowed to come back stronger after being forced to retire with a neck injury in his first-round match with Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Bracknell News:

Neil Pauffley had to withdraw through injury.

Maidenhead-based Pauffley, the British number 12, was trailing 5-0 in his first set to Kazakhstan’s Nedovyesov and decided he couldn’t continue.

However, Pauffley, playing in his first Wimbledon Qualifiers, is confident he has what it takes to kick on and climb up the rankings.

“I think I’m good enough to play at this level, it’s just about getting the experience. I’ve obviously never played at this level before so it’s all kind of new to me,” said the 27-year-old.

“I don’t think I’m that far away from it if I’m honest, I think I’ve got it in me to beat players of this standard.

“I’ve been playing well recently, even though I haven’t had the best of results. Even though I haven’t been playing well in those, I’m still feeling confident.

“I was excited for the event because it’s the first time I’ve played singles here. It’s a bit of a downer with the injury. Hopefully I’ll be back next year.

“I’ve got the taste for the qualifying here now so I know what it’s like so next year, and hopefully I can come back stronger.”

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