From alternate to qualifier for Bolt

Australia’s Alex Bolt was not even a starter in qualifying until 10 minutes before he was called to a round one match as an alternate.

“I found out at 10.50 for an 11 o’clock start,” explained world No.234 Bolt, who was promoted into the draw as an alternate following a late withdrawal from 11th seed Valentin Vacherot.

The 31-year-old took advantage of his opportunity and now has qualified for his third Wimbledon tournament.

This came after a dramatic five-set win over Switzerland’s Leandro Riedi. The Swiss player was up two sets and was leading the third set tie-breaker 5-2 and then held a match point at 6-5. Bolt stayed alive with a forehand winner.

Bolt had twice been up a break in the opening set but let Riedi back both times before the Swiss 22-year-old took the set in a tie-breaker.

The Australian admitted later that he let that get to him and he was thinking about what might have been for an hour, before getting back on track.

Bolt fought back to win 6-7(2), 2-6, 7-6(7), 7-5, 6-4.

“You couldn’t write a better script for the journey I’ve had this week,” beamed an emotional Bolt after the three-hour and 41-minute battle.

“I’m just super proud of my efforts to hang around in the match. I had opportunities in the first and let that slip. I kind of let that take control of my mind for the next hour and a bit. He got the second as well and started playing really good tennis. I just kept hanging around, hanging around and managed to turn the tide. It’s unreal.”

Bolt had qualified for Wimbledon in 2018 and was in the main draw as a wildcard recipient in 2021.

Leave a Comment