‘I’m Doing Everything I Can’: Broady Breaks Into Top 100 For First Time
Liam Broady reached the Wimbledon boys’ singles final aged 17 and after turning 18, became the No. 2 junior in the world. After more than a decade, the Briton has made his biggest breakthrough on the ATP Tour.
On Tuesday, 29-year-old Broady cracked the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time by climbing to a career-high World No. 93. The lefty credits his surge over the past few years to a change in mentality, how he treats his career and his attitude on the court. Why did he make that shift?
“Partly the feeling like I’m a bit of a disappointment to what my junior career was, and feeling like I was wasting my talent. I also didn’t really want to live with that feeling anymore of being rubbish or being trash at tennis and knowing I could do something about it,” Broady told ATPTour.com in July. “Whereas nowadays, I go to bed at night and I feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing everything I can to be better at the sport.’ I’m doing everything I can to try and achieve what I can and if I don’t, at least I can say I’ve done that.
“I’m a big believer in karma and stuff. I think if you do the right things, good things happen, whether that’s during your career or after it.”
Broady was immortalised on Netflix earlier this year when his match against Nick Kyrgios was covered on Break Point. But the Briton has proven he is far more than a complimentary character in a docuseries. He is himself one of the best players in the world, and credits his progression to his maturity.
“I think for years I struggled a lot with finding the right mentality and I think that’s part of growing up. I think the quicker you can grow up, the better player you’ll be,” Broady said. “A prime example: Rafa Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer. I mean, Roger actually probably peaked a little bit older than some of the other guys. I think his first Slam, he was 21 or 22.
“I just think it’s a matter of when you reach that maturity and obviously for me, it’s come 10 years later than some of those guys.”
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The lefty believes the moment the switch flipped for him was around age 26, especially at the start of the 2020 season.
“I kind of decided, ‘Okay, let’s focus on the tennis now. It’s your profession, you only have one career, and let’s see how well we can do’. It’s kind of grown from there,” Broady said. “I wish I’d have made that decision when I was 18 years old and had another seven or eight years of learning the way that I’ve learned over the last three or four years. But that’s not the way it works sometimes. The last three years, really, I’m very proud of what I’ve managed to do.”
Broady vividly remembers winning just three games in the first round of qualifying at the 2020 Australian Open against Ilya Ivashka. He had enjoyed a “really good” pre-season and his first match of the year was over in just 73 minutes
“My first reaction was to go and get really drunk and go and have a good time in Melbourne and I just kind of thought, ‘I’ve been doing that now for three or four years, that’s not making things better, it makes it worse,’” Broady said. “I had a phone call with my coach straightaway and I said ‘Look, I don’t want to talk about the match, I don’t want to talk about how I played. I want to just say, let’s make a promise now that I’ll commit everything to my tennis for the next 12 months and we’ll see where we’re at. Then if it doesn’t go well, then maybe I’ll leave the sport. If it does go well, then let’s talk again.’”
Liam Broady and sister Naomi Broady, who reached World No. 56. Photo: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
The Briton made an ATP Challenger Tour final and semi-final that year and also qualified for Roland Garros. Each season since he has consistently put himself in position to play on the world’s biggest stages. Last year he made the third round at Wimbledon with a win over Diego Schwartzman. This year at SW19, Broady upset Casper Ruud to make the third round.
“These matches are magical moments, and you never know, at the end of the day, you might never get a chance to play them again,” Broady said. “So that’s a huge motivation of mine, to get more and more of those moments, and players who are in the Top 50, Top 20, they’re playing those matches all the time. That’s where I want to be.”
British lefties have enjoyed success in recent years. Jack Draper, another former Wimbledon boys’ singles finalist, has taken the ATP Tour by storm. Henry Searle won the junior title at The All England Club this July.
“It felt really quick when Jack Draper made the final, and now even more so I’m being consigned to the annals of history now,” Broady said. “There are two guys that have done it since me and in a few years I’m sure there’ll be three guys. Before you know it, no one will remember that I did it. That’s sport, it moves on quick. Tennis waits for no one. If you stand still, then you fall behind. It’s as simple as that.”
But Broady is not falling behind. Aged 29, he is playing as well as ever. The evidence is in his Pepperstone ATP Ranking. He has also earned the respect of his peers, including British No. 1 Cameron Norrie.
“I know for him that’s been a huge goal to crack the Top 100, so I’m very impressed and I knew he had it in him,” Norrie said. “It just kind of shows what kind of person he is, the perseverance, and it is well deserved. He works harder than anyone, so I’m glad he’s made that jump and I think he can keep going. I don’t see why not.”