AAP Tennis

Unsung Aust trio make Wimbledon, Tomic out

By AAP Newswire

Aussie tennis battlers Alex Bolt, Jason Kubler and John-Patrick Smith have shown Bernard Tomic how it's done with gallant efforts to reach the Wimbledon main draw.

The unsung trio bolstered Australia's singles contingent to 13 for the grass-court grand slam with watershed wins in the final round of qualifying after Tomic spectacularly bombed out with a straight-sets pummelling.

Bolt was overjoyed after denying his more-celebrated fellow South Australian and "best mate on tour" Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-5 in a three-hour thriller.

"I didn't know what to do," said the world No.205.

"I just hit the volley (on match point) and he didn't go for it and I just collapsed. I felt like I lost control of my whole body."

The 25-year-old world No.205's career-changing triumph comes after he gave up the sport to build fences around Murray Bridge to pay the bills.

"I basically took all of 2016 off and came back at the start of 2017 and two years later I've qualified for Wimbledon. I would never have dreamt of this in my life," Bolt said.

Urged on by Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, Kubler overcame cramps and the disappointment of blowing three third-set match points before advancing with a sapping 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 victory over seasoned Canadian Peter Polansky.

His journey to the big time has been equally amazing.

After countless surgeries, the former world No.1 junior has spent most of his career playing on clay because his knees can't take much else.

"It's unreal," Kubler said.

"I've had probably the best 12 months of my life. I've come from not really knowing if I'm going to continue playing tennis to qualifying at Wimbledon."

Kubler had Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt urging him on during his epic three-hour, 41-minute encounter and received a bear hug from Bolt after joining Nick Kyrgios, Matt Ebden, John Millman, Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth and Smith in Friday night's Wimbledon draw.

"I feel like we belong there. We've gone through the hard yards," Kubler said.

So, too, has Smith, whose 6-2 6-4 6-3 win over American Michael Mmoh 6-2 6-4 6-3 came after a gut-wrenching final-round qualifying defeat last year.

"I lost 12-10 last year. It was a heartbreaker so it's obviously a good feeling," the world No.211 said after qualifying for only the second time in six attempts.

Tomic, though, will miss his pet slam for the first time since 2009 after falling 6-3 6-1 6-2 to Belgian Ruben Bemelmans.

"I would have thought he would have been the one getting through out of all of us," Kubler said.

"We'll have to get a photo together of all three of us and say 'we're off to Wimbledon' or something like that."