Wimbledon has been known to throw up the odd grass court fairytale from time to time and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Marcus Willis.
Ranked 775th in the world, the 25-year-old from Slough’s hopes of making an impact at SW19 were slim to none a couple of months ago.
It was then that Willis came close to retiring, having all but given up on his dream of one day appearing at the grass court tournament.
However, that all changed when he met Jennifer Bate, a dentist and mother who previously made the headlines after winning the Miss Professional beauty pageant as well as a Miss UK title in her time.
At the time, Willis had been planning to move to Philadelphia to take up the offer of a coaching job in the States.
But Bate was having none of it.
“I was adamant I was going to go to America to coach,” Willis explains.
“I had called up someone about the visa — and then I met a girl. She basically told me I was an idiot and that I should keep going, and I’m very grateful for that.”
Fast forward a couple of months and Willis has suddenly found himself in the limelight after not only starring in an impressive run of results in Wimbledon qualifying but also following that grueling schedule of matches up with victory over Richard Berankis.
Having come through three qualifying matches while dropping just two sets, Willis duly dispatched the Lithuanian, who is ranked 53 in the world, in straight sets.
Now set for a showdown with all-time great Roger Federer, Willis will be hoping to spring what would undoubtedly be one of the biggest shocks in the history of the sport.
For now though he is most likely basking in the glory of his latest win and thanking his lucky stars he met Miss Professional in the first place.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.