Marcus Willis Rounds Out Aviators RosterMay 18, 2018
Returning this season to play his third year of World TeamTennis, Marcus Willis joins the 2018 Aviators as the team’s men’s singles specialist. Willis might be a new name to Aviators fans, but for some on the team, they’re welcoming an old friend to the squad.
For one, he and teammate Naomi Broady are both British players who’ve come up through juniors and into the pros at the same time. “My first International Tournament in France, [Naomi and I] were on the same trip so I know her pretty well,” says Willis. Already having a friend on the team to support him, Willis says, “I think it really does help.”
This won’t be the first time Willis has played for Aviators Coach John Lloyd, either. “Ironically, Coach Lloyd gave me the opportunity to be on the Davis Cup team years ago with Andy Murray, Jamie [Murray], Ross Hutchins, and Alex Bogdanovich,” he says. “So, I've been in touch with him. He's a great guy to be around, very positive."
Willis and Lloyd have a shared passion for WTT tennis and both are looking forward to the opportunity to be on the same side this season. “I played for the New York Empire the last two years so I was the enemy before this year,” he laughs. “We've been messaging each other quite a lot recently we’re really up for the event. It's quite rare that three months in advance, you're texting someone about the event, so that's what World TeamTennis means to us.”Willis will face his former team, the New York Empire, two times this season — once on Aviators home turf at La Costa, and once on Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.
Willis names the lob his favorite shot. When asked if he thinks he could out-lob Andy Murray, arguably one of the best lobbers in the game, he says playfully,” I lobbed Federer on center court one shot in the tournament at Wimbledon in 2016 so hopefully I could lob [Andy] Murray as well.”
That lob and his big serve will be his weapons of choice on court this WTT season. It’s the serve that earned him his nickname, “Willbomb,” and that delivers the power Coach Lloyd is counting on Willis to bring to the Aviators. His ability to mesh with a team will be another tremendous asset, and the built-in camaraderie that comes with having established relationships will come in handy during those high-pressure points in the fast-paced, every-point-counts WTT format.
But Willis is up to the task. “In world team tennis, you have to try to win every single game for your team,” he says. “It's not just for you anymore.”