herald

Sunday 16 December 2018

Conor wows ladies after Wimbledon setback

HE missed out on playing Roger Federer but Conor Niland's Wimbledon voyage could still see him land a dream match.

The single tennis player, from Co Limerick, revealed he's been inundated with flirty friend requests from female fans since appearing on court.

"I'd no girlfriend cheering me on from the sidelines last week unfortunately," laughed Conor (29).

"But you never know, I've been getting a lot of friend requests on Facebook so we'll have to see what happens."

The sportsman has seen his profile rocket since his thrilling Wimbledon debut against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino last Tuesday.

Despite leading the match 4-1 in the fifth set, the Irishman's nerves and inexperience saw him bow out of the tournament.



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He explained: "I just wasn't experienced in that situation. It was my first time at Wimbledon and I wasn't as comfortable as I could have been. I saw the finish line in sight and started to make unforced errors."

Ranked number 181 in the world, the defeat saw Niland miss out on challenging the Swiss number three seed Roger Federer (29), on the hallowed turf of Wimbledon's centre court. But he's vowed the pair will meet again.

He said: "It was tough to get so close and not have stayed in. I'm still thinking of what might have been. It's my dream to get opposite a player like Federer or Nadal on the biggest courts in the world.

"That's what I play tennis for and I've no intention of giving up on that dream. I'm still improving and learning and I know I've more improvement in me.

"At 29, I'm not going to start challenging to win a grand slam but if I can win a round or two in a major then that's what I'll be aiming for.



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"I want to make it into the top 100 and get back to Wimbledon next year.."

Incredibly, the tennis player confessed his Wimbledon debut wasn't the most nerve wracking experience of his career.

He revealed: "About three years ago, while I was playing college tennis in California, I got an offer to practice with Pete Sampras.

"Growing up he was my childhood hero so it was a great experience but I was probably more nervous going to meet him than I was on Tuesday.

"I didn't want to pester him for advice and he didn't offer me any tips -- maybe he felt he couldn't help me. We ended up mostly talking about golf."

hnews@herald.ie

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