James Ward eyes world's top 100 after Queen's run

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Queen's

British number two James Ward has targeted a place in the world's top 100 after his surprise run at Queen's Club came to an end against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals.

The 24-year-old Londoner is projected to rise from 216 in the rankings to about 175 after reaching his first ATP semi-final at the Aegon Championships, and believes he can go higher.

"I beat top players this week," said Ward. "It wasn't expected, but I always knew I could do it. Sometimes it does take a little while to come out.

"There are guys who stop playing their best tennis when they're 18, 19, 20, and there's other guys from 24, 25, 26. If you look at the average age in the top 100, it's around 26.

"So I think it's different these days - there are so many good players. Hopefully I can finish in the top 100 by the end of the year. It would be nice."

Ward beat fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka, defending champion Sam Querrey and world number 54 Adrian Mannarino on his way to the last four, but fell short in a 6-3 7-6 (9-7) defeat by Tsonga.

"Obviously I'm a little bit disappointed," he said. "It's not nice to lose any time, it doesn't matter if it's to a top player or someone not so highly ranked. It's been a great week for me, and I hope to push on from here and look forward to playing Eastbourne next week."

The pressure remains on Ward as he heads to Eastbourne defending the ranking points from a run to the quarter-finals last year, and the Englishman has been given a special exemption into the main draw this time, with world number 31, Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic waiting in round one.

"It's only a couple of days I think before I play again," he said. "Hopefully I can play Tuesday, that gives me time to get to Eastbourne and practice there and get used to it. I just look forward to playing."

Ward will find himself the focus of greater attention than usual following his efforts at Queen's, with a Wimbledon wildcard giving him the opportunity to make another mark.

"I don't know about expectation," he said. "My ranking is still going to go to about 175, I think. Realistically I really shouldn't be playing Wimbledon at that ranking.

"It's obviously a bonus to be playing and get a wildcard there; I'll just concentrate on next week before I start thinking about Wimbledon."

Prime Minister David Cameron was among the crowd watching his quarter-final at Queen's on Friday, and Andy Murray been quick to give his compatriot words of support all week, but Ward insisted he will not let the attention go to his head.

"I've made one semi-final of an ATP [tournament]," he said. "I haven't gone and won the Masters or won Wimbledon, I have to keep things in perspective. And I have good people around me, so I'm sure I won't get too carried away."