STUART PARKER’S latest Wimbledon journey may have been short-lived, but the Jerseyman is taking a ‘glass half full’ approach to his defeat in the preliminaries.
The two-time ITF Futures champion, who was handed a men’s doubles main-draw wildcard for the London grand slam last year, lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of qualifying for the 2022 men’s singles – to world number 192 Alexander Ritschard.
Parker – currently ranked 499 in the world – said: ‘I think I put in a strong performance.
‘The second and third sets may have looked rather comfortable for him, but they didn’t tell the whole story. I had a lot of opportunities to break back and win games, but he played the bigger points better than me and got the job done.’
The 24-year-old believes he needs to focus on playing with freedom if he is to continue his climb up the ATP rankings.
‘The standard of tennis across the tours is only getting stronger,’ he said.
‘I have been working hard on expressing myself on court and adding variety to my game with different shot selections. You cannot afford to be one-dimensional in this game because opponents will figure you out quickly.
‘Towards the end of last year I made it a real point of emphasis and it’s certainly a process – but I’m heading in the right direction. There has to be an element of trust in that process that the results will begin to look after themselves.’
Parker has seen first-hand how this trust can pay off, with one of his good friends, Ryan Peniston, enjoying the form of his career.
The fellow Brit, who has won four times on the ITF Futures Tour, is now at a career-high ranking of 147, following an outstanding Queens Championships run to the quarter-finals; beating world number five Casper Ruud and Francisco Cerundolo  on the way.
Parker said: ‘I think it gives me great confidence seeing where Ryan [Peniston] is now.
‘His levels haven’t changed a huge amount from last year, but what he has been working on and the process is starting to pay off and he is reaping the rewards.
‘For me, that is what I am hoping to see in the coming months and I am excited to see what is to come.’
Following an extended period in France, Parker is now based out of the National Tennis Centre in London, where both his coach and physical trainer are on hand to assist the Islander in his pursuit up the rankings.
Although his result in the Wimbledon qualifiers was not the desired outcome, he said there are more positives to from the experience than negatives.
‘It is easy for people to check a score and come to the conclusion that I didn’t play well, but that was not the case,’ he added.
‘I gave a good account of myself there are a lot of positives that came out of it.
‘I feel like I’ve been playing well on grass of late – there are a couple more events ahead before the grass season is over, so I will look to build on that and make a good account of myself in those.’