9 times Marcus Willis was the sporting hero we needed but not the one we deserved


Let's be honest - there are more than a few people up and down the country who needed cheering up.

Enter Marcus Willis - the previously unheard of tennis player who won a whole match, despite being ranked 772 in the world, and earned himself a dream date with Roger Federer on Centre Court.

And yes, he lost to the Swiss star in straight sets. And no, he never really looked like doing anything other than losing in straight sets.

But unlike squabbling politicians or embarrassing footballers, he made us feel good while he was doing it...

1. When he just looked happy to be there.

Roger Federer and Marcus Willis line up before their match at Wimbledon

Do you ever get the impression that the England football team actually enjoy playing football? Certainly not often. Be in no doubt at all, Marcus Willis likes playing tennis. And he likes the chance that he gets to do it on a big stage. And he loves the fact he got to play the greatest of all time.

2. When he actually won a game.

Marcus Willis celebrates winning a game in the second set against Roger Federer

After losing the first set 6-0, there were was no sulking, no feeling sorry for himself. It was on to the second set, where he upped his level, started winning a few games and celebrated like a superstar.

3. When he wore a Roger Federer shirt, even though he was playing against Roger Federer.

What kind of a hero would wear the branded apparel of the guy they're playing against? Either a hero with a tremendous sense of humour, or one with absolutely no ego. Either way, that's good enough for us.

4. When his girlfriend couldn't stop smiling.

Jennifer Bate watches her boyfriend Marcus Willis at Wimbledon

Jennifer Bate smiled when she arrived, smiled all the way through the match, went wild when Willis won a game and smiled as she left again. Seriously, how fun must life be at their house? The pair of them do nothing but smile. We wanna get ourselves a dinner invite.

5. When his coach live-tweeted the match from the players' box.

Because he was as surprised to be there as anyone.

6. When he fought for every single point.

He may have been outclassed but it wasn't thanks to a lack of effort. And really, that's all we Brits want from our sporting heroes, isn't it?

7. When he just cheered everybody up.

Whatever your political leanings, whichever football team you support, it's been a difficult, unsettling week to be British. So it was great that we all had a little feelgood story to focus on. If only it could have lasted longer.

8. When his girlfriend took a Centre Court selfie.

Jennifer Bate, girlfriend of Marcus Willis takes a selfie on centre court

Because she's one of us - and you would, wouldn't you?

9. When he celebrated with a beer (despite losing).

Because he's one of us - and you would, wouldn't you?