Alex Bolt started playing on the grass courts at the Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association when he was a four-year-old, and started dreaming about winning matches on the same surface at the All England Club not too long after that.
That dream finally came to fruition on Tuesday night when the South Australian won his first match at Wimbledon, seven years after he first attempted to qualify for the most glamourous tournament on the tennis calendar.
Although, there was nothing glamorous about the build-up to the 28-year-old’s match on day two of The Championships.
With all players living in a bubble during the tournament due to the pandemic, Bolt took the shuttle bus from the Park Plaza Hotel in London at 10am, but was forced to wait until after 6pm to get onto court due to inclement weather. In that time period, he devoured three bowls of pasta and warmed up just as many times, waiting for his moment to arrive.
Bolt made the most of his moment to live out a childhood dream, overcoming slippery conditions and fading light on Court 16 to beat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5 in just over two hours to win his first Grand Slam main draw match outside of the Australian Open.
“This is definitely right up there in terms of wins,” Bolt told The First Serve after booking his spot in the second round on Tuesday night.
“Wimbledon is right up there with the pinnacle of the sport. Playing on the grass courts of Wimbledon is something you always dream about.
“To finally be able to do this, ten years into my career, I’ve finally done that and I’m really proud of what I’ve done today. Hopefully I can keep the run going.”
That run started in Nottingham earlier this month when Bolt snapped a nine-match losing streak dating back to the Australian Open in spectacular fashion.
Bolt qualified for the ATP Challenger Tour tournament by winning two rounds of qualifying, before peeling off another five wins to bank seven wins in eight days to claim the third title of his career, reigniting his season in the process and landing a wildcard to Wimbledon as a reward.
“Leading into that Nottingham tournament, I think I was on a nine-match losing streak. In terms of wins, there wasn’t that much coming in so I was pretty low on confidence. There is nothing like winning matches,” he said.
“To qualify and win at Nottingham was a great achievement for me. Then I got rewarded with a wildcard here at Wimby. I felt like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity and I’ve continued my great form here.”
In the second round, Bolt will face either 29th seed Cameron Norrie, or Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Australian star Nick Kyrgios will return to the All England Club on Wednesday to finish his first round match against French star Ugo Humbert on Court One.
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