It was the perfect start to the 10th HSBC Road to Wimbledon, Monday began with half an hour’s practice at 10am and after being granted the use of The Championships courts 14 to 19, it was full steam ahead on Day 1 of the National Finals, with the fortunate few, smiling intently picking up their racquet bags and heading off to play in the heart of The All England Club under the shadows of Centre Court and No.1 Court.
As the clock struck one o’clock our world class team of Wimbledon referees were in “the zone” working non-stop putting the National Finals forty-five minutes ahead of schedule by lunch-time, sending out wave after wave of boys and girls matches on to the lawns to play.
The matches were all played in good spirits and the support of the families and coaches helped create a mini-Wimbledon atmosphere on a warm and pleasant day.
In the first wave of 32 matches, nine boys matches went to a nail-biting deciding tie-break, the rest were decided in straight sets.
Playing at Wimbledon for the first time is for all who love tennis a memory to treasure, and a rare privilege provided by the All England Club and HSBC.
At the stroke of two o’clock, after a brief rest to recharge the batteries, the boys came back out after the girls had their first taste of Wimbledon competition. A cool breeze brought with it a cluster of clouds replacing the sweltering heat of the morning and the players had to adapt to the changeable conditions.
There were 126 matches completed today and among the favourites for the title, and no major upsets for the top ten seeds in both boys and girls singles opening Round Robin matches.
Potential upsets were turned around for the fourth seeds. Chloe Halliday, 14, from Surrey, was pushed to the final set tie-break by 14-year-old Ruth Horsburgh of Worcestershire, but eventually Halliday found her game to win through 6-1, 3-6, (10-6). In his second group D match, Mason Recci, 14, Warwickshire’s fourth seed, was forced to come from a set down but managed to finish with a flourish to win his second match of the day against Michael Barry of Wiltshire 3-6, 6-1, (10-0).
With one more group match to be played on Tuesday the doubles will start from 12.30. The doubles draws and the rest of the Round Robin scores from Day 1 can be viewed in the 2011 draws and results section.