Luke Saville is intent on wreaking some Wimbledon havoc after staging a memorable fightback to help Australia secure its largest singles contingent at the All England Club in 20 years.
Final-round qualifying wins by Saville, grand slam battler John Millman and journeyman John-Patrick Smith have given Australia an extraordinary 16 representatives in the main draw.
Not since 1995 has Australia enjoyed such a massive representation at tennis’s grandest event – but Saville says he isn’t satisfied yet.
“I want to go in there and do my best and leave it all out there,” the euphoric former Wimbledon junior champion said after saving a match point and fighting back from two sets down to defeat Italian Luca Vanni 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to qualify for the second straight year.
“If you draw one of the top guys, you don’t really want that.
“But I’ll go into every match, I’ll give it my all. I always do.
“I like grass, I play well at the All England Club, especially in the juniors and last year. I don’t want to just make up the numbers now.
“I’ll go there and hopefully with a favourable draw and do some damage.”
The 22-year-old admitted he felt a sense of deja vu having also staved off a match point last year in the fourth-set tiebreak, as he did on Friday just two courts away.
“So that’s pretty scary. The similarities are pretty crazy,” Saville said.
“You know how much it means to me. It’s an unbelievable feeling.
“To do it back-to-back, it gives me chills. Especially from two sets to love down in the last round of ‘qualies’, it doesn’t get much more special than that.
“I’m just pumped.”
Saville only learned after his big win that his girlfriend, rising star Daria Gavrilova, had withdrawn from her scheduled quarter-final at Eastbourne with an aggravation of an abdominal strain.
“That puts a bit of a dampener on it,” he said.
“I hope she’s alright. That’s probably the main thing.”
Gavrilova, set to climb to No.39 in the world and one of four Australians making their Wimbledon main-draw debut, later took to Twitter to say how delighted she was for Saville and vowed to be ready for the championships.
Millman, a 26-year-old battler who climbed to a career-high ranking of 118th in the world this month, secured his first Wimbledon main-draw appearance with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 6-2 win over Frenchman Enzo Couacourd.
Smith, also 26 and a graduate of the US college system, capped Australia’s triumphant day to qualify for only his second major – and first on foreign shores – with a 6-1 7-5 6-2 win over Czech Jan Mertl.
The qualifying trio gives Australia 11 men in the singles, the most since 2000 when Pat Rafter reached the first of his successive finals.
Saville, Millman and Smith join seeds Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt in his last hurrah, Sam Groth, 19-year-old Wimbledon rookie Thanasi Kokkinakis, James Duckworth, Marinko Matosevic and wildcard Matt Ebden.
Samantha Stosur, Australia’s highest seed at No.22, will lead the women’s assault along with Gavrilova, Jarmila Gajdosova, Casey Dellacqua and Ajla Tomljanovic.
The draw will take place on Friday (7.30pm AEST) at the All England Club, with the championships starting on Monday.
AUSTRALIA’S WIMBLEDON CAST (PREFIX DENOTES RANKING):
25-Bernard Tomic – former quarter-finalist
29-Nick Kyrgios – former quarter-finalist
68-Sam Groth – direct entry debut
69-Thanasi Kokkinakis – on debut
86-James Duckworth – direct entry debut
117-Lleyton Hewitt – wildcard, 2002 champion and All England Club member
119-John Millman – qualifier on debut
148-Matt Ebden – wildcard
160-John-Patrick Smith – qualifier on debut
182-Luke Saville – qualifier, former Wimbledon junior champion
41-Daria Gavrilova – on debut