Inspired by Murray, Broady breaks slam barrier

The Brit hasn't dropped a set all week in Paris to qualify for his first-ever Roland-Garros main draw.

Liam Broady, Roland Garros, qualifying third round© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The British ranks are used to the likes of Andy Murray and Dan Evans featuring in the men’s Grand Slams. Now there is a Liam Broady joining from over the Channel.

The 26-year-old has qualified for a Grand Slam at the 12th attempt, prevailing past 12th seed Marc Polmans 7-6(5), 6-4 on Thursday. He will compete in the main draw of a major for the first time outside Wimbledon.

2016 Roland-Garros finalist Murray was in the stands on Thursday to watch his countryman in action and it seemed to be the catalyst for Broady’s major breakthrough.  

“I started pretty bad today, but then Andy turned up and that was a real boost. He’s a pretty loud supporter. For some, Andy Murray watching you might be a bit disconcerting, but he definitely helped me out today,” revealed the world No.206, having qualified without dropping a set.

Murray and Broady have been embroiled in several lighthearted jibes recently on social media, as well as constant barbing at each other at the post-lockdown ‘Battle of the Brits’ exhibitions. However, Broady is delighted to the have the three-time Grand Slam champion’s backing.

“You can’t fault Andy as a tennis player or a human being. I’ve got to know him a lot better in the past couple of months. He’s been absolutely fantastic,” continued Broady.

Andy Murray, Roland Garros 2020, practice© Julien Crosnier/FFT

“We’ve got a few Whatsapp groups from the Battle of the Brits events and everyone has been so supportive, driving me on, they’ve given me tactics for players here.” 

Broady has previously featured at Wimbledon as a wild card, so Roland-Garros 2020 is a significant moment for him, as his first Grand Slam main draw off home turf.

Everyone could see what it meant to him, falling to the terre battue at match point in a star shape, staring up at the sky to take in his achievement.

“I’ve been growing as a person on and off the court since the end of last year, working with a mental coach," said the Brit, highlighting his bolstered mental fortitude, eager to seize his chance.

“It feels a bit strange, normally leaving disappointed. It felt different this time I felt like I’ve earned my place. I’ve played very well, with a couple of decent results on the Challenger circuit in the lead-up.

“I've always felt my game style has suited playing on clay, but I’ve never really approached it with that much confidence. I’ve come here with a bit between my teeth and wanted to prove myself. I think this year I’ve actually believed I can win matches on the clay.

Liam Broady, Roland Garros, qualifying third round© Julien Crosnier/FFT

“Lockdown hit, but the year of 2020, there will be a few players who look back on it as a good year tennis-wise, taking their opportunities. I’m trying to make sure I’m one of those players that looks back and says ‘Its been an awful year, but at least I made the most of the tennis'.”

Benjamin Bonzi will fly the French flag at Roland-Garros for the second time. The 24-year-old, who overcame Daniil Medvedev in the first round back in 2017, has returned to the main draw in Paris. Bonzi advanced due to Roberto Marcora’s withdrawal with a hamstring injury just prior to their third-round match.

However, fellow Frenchman Enzo Couacaud’s campaign has been halted with Canada’s Steven Diez claiming the winning ticket 6-3, 6-4.

Second seed Pedro Martinez soared into the main draw in straight sets over American Ulises Blanch, however, the shot-making magic of Dustin Brown will be absent following a 6-3, 7-5 defeat at the hands of Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino.