Eastbourne effort gives Clayton a ‘mental edge’

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The Islander – handed a wildcard entry into the men’s doubles draw for the ATP World Tour event in Eastbourne – upset the odds alongside Joe Salisbury in Tuesday’s opening round with victory over Jamie Cerretani and multiple Grand Slam winner Mike Bryan.

However, his run came to an end on Wednesday with a 6-2, 7-5 quarter-final loss to Robert Lindstedt (Swe) and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra).

The first round win alone boosted Clayton’s ATP World Tour profile by 45 ranking points, along with guaranteeing a share of almost 6,000 euros, but the Wimbledon-bound Jerseyman was more pleased with the extra grass-court preparation the wildcard brought.

‘Playing against one of the Bryan brothers was a great experience,’ said the 24-year-old. ‘They’re the most decorated doubles team of all time and most tennis players my age have grown up watching them.

‘We always we believed that we could win, but to actually do it was great. Now moving forward it’s a good mental edge to have, knowing we’ve closed out a match like that on this kind of stage. It definitely helps.’

The Brits came from a break down in the second set of their quarter-final to level at 5-5, but were immediately broken back on Clayton’s serve and edged out of the tournament in the next game.

‘We got into them a bit in the second [set], but they were the better team for the majority of the match for sure,’ he explained.

‘Okay, we probably weren’t expected to win it, but the disappointing part was that we didn’t take them to a tie-break.

‘I’ll take a lot away from this week, though – there are a lot of positives and learning curves which will ultimately help me.’

Clayton will partner singles specialist Liam Broady in the men’s doubles draw at Wimbledon next week – a partner who has experience of tennis on Centre Court after being drawn to face Andy Murray in 2016.

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