However, before that we must reflect on this year’s event which began in earnest in April with the club and school events taking place throughout the country. This is Stage 1, and these events will be completed come end of May.
June and July is HSBC Road To Wimbledon Stage 2 when the County Finals take place in each of the 44 counties across the UK.
Stage 3 the National Finals is staged usually at The All England CLub, Wimbledon, but not for this year.
The 14 & Under National Challenge was first started as far back as 2002 and is now in its 11th year.
However, this year there is something very different for the players to experience as it is an Olympic year.
Previously, the National Finals were played on the grass courts at the All England Club mid August but this year the National Finals will need to take place at the very prestigious Bank of England sports ground in Roehampton, adjacent to the LTA National Tennis Centre.
The reason for the change is that the Olympics are being held at Wimbledon this year and the grass courts and facilities will not be ready in time for the National Finals.
The organisation of something as prestigious as the Olympic Games is so large it takes a great deal of time to complete the dismantling of all the equipment to get Wimbledon back to normal, as well as to prepare the grass courts used for The Championships then again for the London 2012 Olympics.
The Bank of England sports ground has a long history of tennis with it being the venue where the ever important Wimbledon qualifying tournament is held each year in the week before The Championships.
It has been the scene of many memorable matches of pain, despair and elation experienced by top players who play through 3 qualifying rounds to reach their final ambitious destination of playing at the Wimbledon Championships in main draw singles, doubles and also the mixed event.
The grass courts are beautiful, overseen by Ian Wall and his staff. Ian is an expert in grass maintenance and prepares the lawns every year for the Wimbledon qualifying event and this year the HSBC Road to Wimbledon as well.
Although we are not at Wimbledon the Finals will still be very special for all who attend.
The players, parents and coaches will all be welcomed at the Bank of England this year, and HSBC would really like to continue to make everyone feel comfortable and make the National Finals a special event.
Hotel subsidy, complimentary players’ lunches, museum vouchers and a minimum of 5 grass court matches is ‘on the menu’ for players who reach the National Finals.
We are also hopeful of arranging tours of the Wimbledon grounds and museum visits and there will still be an exciting Players’ party on the Tuesday night.
The rule that players are restricted to playing only twice at the National Finals at Wimbledon has been lifted for one year and there is still a 64 singles and 32 doubles draw for both boys and girls.
Referee Denise Parnell and assistant referee Peter Finn will as usual be on hand to get the matches played on 16 grass courts, as well as being responsible for the weather!
We are looking forward to welcoming the 44 county winners and 20 best runners up to the National Finals in August.
HSBC Road To Wimbledon