Wimbledon 2017: Jay Clarke says mixing with Andy Murray has helped inspired him

Jay Clarke (left) and Marcus Willis
Jay Clarke (left) and Marcus Willis had only played as a pair in one tournament before Wimbledon
Wimbledon 2017 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 3-16 July Starts: 11:30 BST
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Jay Clarke says his senior Wimbledon debut and the chance to rub shoulders with world number one Andy Murray have left him even more determined to continue his rise up the rankings.

The Derby teenager and Marcus Willis reached the third round of the men's doubles after being handed a wildcard.

And he has been hitting with Murray before and during the Championships.

"Playing with a top-10 player can only improve your game," Clarke, 18, told BBC Radio Derby.

"He was really good. I ask a lot of questions and he always has answers but you don't really need to ask too many questions because you see what he does, where he hits the ball, his shot selection and what he works on.

"There are a lot of things you can learn by just being on court."

World number 368 Clarke flew out on Murray's private jet to practise with the two-time Wimbledon champion prior to the French Open and has also been hitting with the Scot at the All-England club.

"It's so different at the top," Clarke said.

But the taste of the high life and experience of mixing with the best seemed to spur him on. Clarke reached the final round of Wimbledon qualifying and was equally impressive in the doubles alongside Willis.

The British number eight teamed up with Willis for just the second time at SW19 and the duo won two matches, including a stunning victory over 2016 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the second round.

They went out in the last 16 to Austria's Oliver Marach and Croatia's Mate Pavic.

"It was great," Clarke added. "Playing in front of a home crowd and playing with Marcus was special. He is really good to play with and great to to play relaxed and free."

Now he wants to continue his progress after a steady first year as a senior.

"The progression in juniors has been quite slow but since then I have climbed really well," he said.

"I have worked hard and smart and to be in the doubles and make the last round of qualifying in the singles at Wimbledon has been huge.

"I want to make the Aussie Open qualifying from my own ranking and keep rising."

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