Liam Broady ends seven years of heartache with Australian Open qualification


Liam Broady will face Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Archive)

Tennis players must learn to recover quickly from losses, but to Liam Broady qualify for the australian open to right a wrong that has plagued him for seven years.

The 28-year-old was clearly emotional after coming out of a set and trailing 5-2 to defeat in-form Russian Roman Safiullin on Friday and reach the main draw in melbourne for the first time.

Broady laid down on the pitch to soak it all up, and what happened on the same pitches in 2015, when his first Grand Slam experience abroad as a senior professional, turned in vinegar.

Broady, then 21, reached the final qualifying round to lose to American veteran Michael Russell.

“I felt like it was time for me to move on and become a top player and I ended up putting in a scorching performance,” he said.

“It kind of derailed my career. I came home and turned off my phone and disappeared for a week or two doing some stupid thing, and for a long time I didn’t get over it.

“So it was good in that sense to put this to bed and finally qualify for the Australian Open where the heartbreak of a professional career began. I felt like I was putting things back in order and that had been my goal for a while.

Broady appeared to be headed for the top 100 at the start of 2015, but by the end of the year he had topped 300 and his ranking fluctuated for five years before finally hitting a steady upward trajectory following the covid-related break in 2020.

In 2019 Broady revealed he had considered quitting the sport due to mental difficulties, and it has been a long process for him to learn how to best deal with the inevitable ups and downs of his chosen career. .

“I kind of felt like I was a good junior and it was my coming-of-age moment,” he said of the 2015 loss.

“And then I got kicked in the face by life and sport. That’s what happens in our profession and I kind of learned a lesson from it. I didn’t respond well to it. I didn’t react well to losses back then and it was also an important process to learn how to take losses.

“It makes things a lot easier when you have a set and 5-2 when you think more clearly and don’t worry. You can let yourself breathe and think, ‘Okay, let’s hang on. What can we do to make him question himself here? And it worked. »

Over the past 18 months, Broady has climbed from outside the top 200 to his current position of 127, qualifying for the French Open in 2020 and winning a first title on the second-tier Challenger Tour.

He can now look forward to one of the biggest matches of his career on Tuesday when he faces Nick Kyrgiosprovided the volatile Australian has recovered from Covid-19.


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