Bolt’s great Wimbledon adventure may transform his career

Alex Bolt falls to Casper Ruud in straight sets

Source: Wimbledon

Alex Bolt says the “pretty nuts” Wimbledon adventure that’s netted him a $114,000 windfall has not only re-energised his career but may well actually transform it.

An emotional and wholly unexpected seven days for the South Australian ended on Monday with the 31-year-old qualifier finally running out of surprises as eighth seed Casper Ruud eventually asserted his quality to prevail 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-4.

But after being cheered on by proud mum Cathy and brother Nathan, who jetted out of Australia for the first time ever to see him play, Bolt swore his lucrative first-round pay-out can make the world of difference to his rejuvenated career.

“It’s a little bit tough at the moment, but it’s been pretty surreal this past week,” smiled the man from Murray Bridge.

He was called up as a last-minute reserve to play in last Monday’s qualifying opening round and then won three matches, topped off by one five-setter from match-point down, to make the main draw.

“I probably won’t forget this for the rest of my life. You couldn’t even write something like this, the way it’s all panned out,” he said.

“I wasn’t even in the qualifying draw, so to be here talking to you after round one at Wimby is pretty nuts.

“This grass-court trip, I didn’t bring my coach (Rohan Williams) over, just because I couldn’t afford to. Now it’s given me the opportunity to be able to bring him over the rest of the year – and some.

“It’s huge for my career to be able to have my coach on the road with me, makes all the difference.”

Bolt was far from disgraced after missing a few opportunities against the three-time grand slam finallist Ruud. In fact, such has been his fairytale this past week that he was still believing in miracles as he scrapped to save five match points.

“I was trying to still believe too,” he said. “But Casper was too good today for me.”

Ruud was relieved to have produced such an accomplished performance, revealing afterwards he was recently laid low with a persistent stomach ailment caused by a “small parasite”.

Bolt’s mother and brother got the VIP treatment in London. He took them on a tour of the All England Club on Sunday.

“That was pretty cool, and it’s been pretty special to have them over there. It’s always been a dream to have my mum over and be able to play here in front of her,” he said.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, especially for mum. I think she got half-an-hour’s sleep through the whole journey

“But the week has left me feeling re-energised a bit.

“The last couple of years have been not great for me in terms of results, rankings and injuries, and I was kind of getting a little bit doubtful in my mind whether I was gonna get back to where I was, playing these kind of matches and beating these guys.

“This last week has definitely given me the confidence to know I can still do that.”

Bolt also enjoyed being in the British spotlight a little, with him and his British girlfriend, women’s player Katie Swan, being feted as another Anglo-Aussie Katie’n’Alex tennis romance in the mould of Boulter and de Minaur.

Had the two couples set up a double date yet?

“No – but we should,” said Bolt. “It’s on the cards. We’re all in London. It’s the perfect opportunity, isn’t it? Watch this space.”


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