Coventry & Warwickshire

Wimbledon underdog Marcus Willis tries to make tennis less elitist

Marcus Willis Image copyright Sally Jones
Image caption Marcus Willis, pictured with Warwick Castle in the background, said his life had "completely changed" since Wimbledon

Wimbledon underdog Marcus Willis has coached at his home tennis club for the first time since his match against seven-times winner Roger Federer.

Willis, of Warwick Boat Club Tennis Club, was the world number 772, but played Federer on Centre Court after coming through six rounds of qualifying and the first round proper.

About 70 people attended a free session to allow non-members to try the sport.

The event was set up in a bid to make tennis less elitist, the club said.

Willis, 25, from Warwick, who is now the world number 420, said his life had "completely changed since those two weeks" at Wimbledon.

He said: "I got on an aeroplane [at Atlanta]. The security guard looked at me and went 'Willis. I know who you are'.

"The story has gone global... everywhere [you get] 'this was the guy who played Roger Federer on Centre Court'.

"I'm getting a lot more offers."

Image copyright Sally Jones
Image caption More than 70 people attended the session at Warwick Boat Club Tennis Club

Willis, who is away on tour for up to 30 weeks a year, said since Wimbledon he had played for the New York Empire team in World Team Tennis, which included doubles action alongside former world number one Andy Roddick.

He said he would be making personal appearances and going to exhibition events when he was not competing.

Club tennis manager Gavin Henderson said Willis was a coach who was "so enthusiastic" and did it "with a smile on his face".

He said: "It's better for us to have someone like him than someone like Roger Federer, for instance.

"[He's] not just around for one day or a week. He's here for the next few years."

The free Sunday afternoon sessions for non-members were set up in a bid to make tennis "more welcoming," the club said.

It said they usually attract more than 20 people and would carry on for as long as they were popular.

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