The All England Club, in collaboration with official banking partner to The Championships, HSBC, has been working to help promote tennis at grass roots across Great Britain by annually orchestrating the nation’s largest lawn tennis event, the Road to Wimbledon.
For 10 years, the HSBC Road to Wimbledon has given the opportunity for thousands of boys and girls to sample competitive tennis at their local clubs and schools with the chance to come to The All England Club for the national finals. Now they have decided to export its success to help grow the sport at the grass roots in China.
This week, four gifted Chinese junior tennis players are enjoying the trip of a lifetime, and are here on a five-day VIP trip, which began on Thursday in London at the state of the art Chiswick Riverside High Performance Centre, on the banks of the River Thames.
Today they were fine-tuning their skills at Reeds School Tennis Academy in the heart of Surrey, getting to see how things are done there and practising their ground strokes ready for a visit to Wimbledon on Middle Saturday. There they will join HSBC ambassador, Tim Henman, the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative kids and also the 2010 HSBC Road To Wimbledon winners, Christopher Morrow and Freya Christie, on the Court 14, to play tennis and watch The Championships.
The two boys, Hu Liu and Teng Ma, and girls, Zhuoma Gerong and Zhima Du, have been preparing their games with the Reeds School tennis academy players.
Ben Haran, the head coach at Reed, spoke about the Chinese visit. “It was really good hosting the Chinese boys and girls, who obviously have a lot of potential to become good tennis players, and with all the interest in Chinese tennis at present,” he said. “Our kids enjoyed training with the juniors.”
Tournament Director for HSBC Road to Wimbledon, Paul Hutchins, was also at Reeds overseeing the groundbreaking visit. He said: “The Chinese juniors are having a great experience over here visiting different tennis facilities. Going to Reeds and seeing one of the top British schools for tennis was a real eye-opener for the juniors and Chinese team leader. So far the trip has been a great success.”
Wimbledon looks forward to welcoming them on Saturday.