After a period of relative quiet inside the Grounds of The All England Club, as courts are repaired and members are left in peace to take a turn on the infamous grass courts, mayhem returns to SW19 from Monday 15 August in the form of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon finals.
The prestigious junior event, the UK's largest national junior grass court tournament is open to girls and boys aged 14&U from all over the country, who have been battling it out since the spring for the chance to play in the finals at Aorangi Park.
Beginning with local tournaments held at clubs up and down the country in the spring, juniors then progress to the County finals, held in June and July. Every club who enters the Road to Wimbledon is automatically represented at the County finals by at least one member.
After a torturous week battling it out for the chance to emulate Tim Henman and Andy Murray by playing on Wimbledon's grass, 44 County finals winners and 20 runners-up qualify for next week's national finals.
Famous winners of the past include 2010 boys' doubles champion Tom Farquharson, who was crowned Road to Wimbledon champion in 2005. Other prominent juniors to take part include Somerset's James Marsalek and Josh Milton from South Wales.
“Playing on the courts at Wimbledon was an incredible feeling," Farquharson said. "One of the best, and most memorable tournaments I can remember playing at that age.”
2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the tournament, the brain child of HSBC and tournament director Paul Hutchins, aided at every turn by Henman, event ambassador and there are plans to hold a Road to Wimbledon in China in the future.
"The HSBC Road to Wimbledon is a wonderful way to inspire future generations of British tennis talent," said Henman, ambassador to the event. "As it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it is hugely apparent that competitions like these are a fantastic way to help nurture British tennis.
I will always remember the first time that I played at Wimbledon and I look forward to sharing this experience with this year’s finalists. Together with The AELTC and the LTA, the tournament’s sponsor HSBC continue to help cultivate all this young talent. It is a great pleasure to be able to help the bank support the stars of the future.”
This year's tournament is set to feature a highly competitive field, with many players rated 6.2 above, including the WJTI's Chloe Halliday, who took part in the HBSC Road to Wimbledon Clinic alongside four visiting Chinese juniors, Henman, and WJTI coach Dan Bloxham. Seedings for 2011 will be announced on Thursday 11 August.
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all