Preston tennis starlet Ben Davies admits watching this year’s Wimbledon is made all the more difficult after he fell just short of strutting his stuff at the world famous venue.
As the likes of British No.1 Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams show what they can do at this year’s Wimbledon, Davies had the chance to follow suit as he competed in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Northern Regional Qualifier at the Ilkley Tennis Club in Yorkshire.
The 13-year-old – who trains at the Northern Lawn Tennis Centre in Manchester – was playing for a spot at August’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club.
But, despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts this time around, Broughton School pupil Davies is adamant we have not seen the last of him, after losing out to Matthew Clegg 6-1 7-5 in his final qualifying match.
“I felt I played alright in the second set, but I didn’t play that well on Saturday unfortunately,” he said.
“But I don’t get to play that much on grass – my club has some courts but they are not always in use – so it’s always good to get out and try different surfaces.
“You don’t always know what kind of bounce you are going to get, so you learn how to play on it better and improve your footwork.
“The chance to play at Wimbledon makes playing at this tournament exciting. Of course it would have been better if I’d have got there but there’s always next year.”
Davies was not the only Preston starlet in action, as 13-year-old Maddy Frediani also took to the court, but exited in the first round to eventual finalist Megan Almond.
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge began in 2002 and is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.
And, although Davies and Frediani both failed to advance to Wimbledon, former British No.1 Tim Henman (below) believes they are still very much ones to watch out for in the future.
“Players are always disappointed when they miss out on qualifying for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Final and a chance to play on the grass courts at Wimbledon,” said Henman.
“Hopefully Ben and Maddy will be spurred on to greater achievements in their junior careers and who knows maybe even to play at The Championships as a professional player in the future.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass court tournament and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.