Marcus Willis’ Wimbledon tale is so far fetched even he thinks it’s beyond fantasy.
“It’s gotten out of hand, a little bit out of hand,” Britain’s world No.772 said after sending the crowd on tiny court 17 into a frenzy with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory over 54th-ranked Ricardas Berankis.
The 25-year-old, who lives at home with parents in Berkshire, took time out from his coaching job to enter pre-qualifying two weeks ago.
Six wins later he’s landed a dream second-round showcourt shot at seven-times champion Roger Federer.
Describing his run as “ridiculous” and “surreal”, Willis celebrated by dancing with fans and walking off court with a spectator’s pork pie hat.
“Not much going on in my head right now. It’s a bit of a blur,” he said.
Anything but an orthodox player, Willis drove Berankis mad with his low slices off both forehand and backhand and deft volleys to save 19 of 20 break points.
He hardly boasts the figure of an elite either, despite shedding the pounds since the days when a heckler dubbed him “Cartman” after the overweight South Park character.
“I was overweight. I was a loser. I didn’t want to be that anymore,” Willis said on getting serious about his game three years ago.
He almost quit tennis again earlier this year only to be talked out of it by his new dentist girlfriend.
Willis still opted not to return to the tour immediately, working as a coach to earn money and playing French and German league matches at weekends.
But guaranteed a STG50,000 ($A90,000) cheque for reaching the second round, Willis shouldn’t have any cash flow problems for a while now.
Even Federer has taken to him.
“I was very intrigued about his story,” the Swiss master said.
“That’s exactly what our sport needs sometimes.”