“The HSBC Road To Wimbledon 14 and Under National Challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass court tournament and continues to grow by attracting more and more schools and tennis clubs each year. Thousands of young tennis players take part annually and as ambassador to the initiative, I can vouch for the talent that this competition has nurtured.” – Tim Henman
The Road To Wimbledon is all about clubs, tennis centres, and BSTA schools supporting their juniors and organising a HSBC Road To Wimbledon tournament giving opportunities for keen juniors to progress to the County Finals and then onwards to the National Finals at Wimbledon.
The event is in three stages and encourages boys and girls of all standards to play and enjoy competitive tennis. Entries to host a Stage 1 event are open to local clubs and schools in England, Scotland, and Wales. The 2011 event is open to all boys and girls who are 14 & under during 2011 and have not reached the age of fifteen during 2011.
Stage 1 the tennis facility first applies for, then organises a singles tournament in the spring of 2011 for a minimum of 8 boys and/or 8 girls. Some have a much larger entry of players but eight is the minimum entry requirement.
Stage 2 the winners, and often the runners-up, automatically qualify for the County Finals, held on set dates in June/July 2011. This means that every club or tennis facility that enters is automatically represented at the County Finals. No player may represent a club facility at the County Finals that has not staged and run a minimum 8 player draw.
Stage 3 the National Finals are held at All England Lawn Tennis Club, in August 2012, where the 44 County Finals winners and 20 runners-up qualify to play singles & doubles at the famous Wimbledon grass courts.
31 January 2012 – closing date for clubs and schools to enter
February 2012 – entered clubs receive entry packs
March/April/May 2012 – Stage 1 events
May 2012 – singles draws completed
June & July on set date(s) – County Finals
13-18 August – National Finals at Wimbledon
2012 HSBC Road to Wimbledon tournament
Application forms for the 2012 HBSC Road to Wimbledon will be available in December 2011.
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon showcases many of Britain’s fledgling stars of the future and endeavours to serve as an important stepping stone towards encouraging the grass roots players to continue enjoying their tennis, and strive to become the best that they can be, and perhaps one day become a professional tennis player in the mould of our ambassador Tim Henman, and of course the current world number 4, Andy Murray.
Many talented juniors compete here every year at Aorangi Park and that experience Tim Henman believes is helping to build a strong future for British Tennis.
It appears to be working as now at the highest level of the international junior circuit, and also at senior level too a trio of former Road To Wimbledon finalists have shown us this year outstanding and even historic performances on the world stage.
Tom Farquharson representing Surrey, James Marsalek of Somerset, and Josh Milton of South Wales all rose to the challenge at the national finals here in years gone by, all showing glimpses of their potential at under 14 level that may one day help them to gain ground on great players like Andy Murray, the current British number one and back-to-back Wimbledon semi-finalist.
It was in 2005 that Tom Farquharson was crowned champion at The Road to Wimbledon. Since then the Surrey boy has continued to refine his game and in 2010 he and his partner, Liam Broady of Stockport made Wimbledon history on No.1 Court, becoming the Junior Wimbledon boy’s doubles champions, winning the first ever all-British boy’s Grand Slam doubles final at The All England Club.
Tom also made it to the third round of the boy’s singles a year earlier in 2009 proving he is a tough competitor on the Wimbledon turf.
After his historic win in the boy’s doubles Farquharson spoke about his Wimbledon experiences, “Playing on No.1 Court with all that support, it was, I don’t know, just unbelievable.”
“I played Junior Wimbledon last year as well, and it was the best experience of my life. I think this year’s topped it again. I think, you know, you’re always motivated here.”
“It’s tournaments like this that you’re a little bit more motivated. And, you know, I would love to come back to play the men’s.”
Tom, the first HSBC Road To Wimbledon competitor to lift a Junior Grand Slam title also gave us his thoughts about playing at the national finals in 2005.
“Playing on the courts at Wimbledon was an incredible feeling. One of the best, and most memorable tournaments I can remember playing at that age.”
James Marsalek, 20, won the Road To Wimbledon just six years ago and has decided, like Tom, to dedicate his time to persue a career in tennis. 2009 was a memorable on for our ’06 boy’s champion as he conquered all at the UK National 18 & under junior championships, and a year later stormed to victory at international level in the pre-Wimbledon ITF Junior grass court event in Roehampton where he came through qualifying winning in total 11 tough matches at same wonderful venue that hosts the Wimbledon qualifiers, the Bank of England Sports Centre.
Marsalek also continued his impressive grass court win streak at SW19, causing one of the upsets of Junior Wimbledon by defeating the number two seed in the first round, but losing to the eventual champion from Hungary, Marton Fucsovic in round three.
“I have good memories of HSBC Road To Wimbledon,” says Marsalek. “It was the first time I had played on grass and to win the event was fantastic. The experience of playing at Wimbledon helped me a lot when I played Junior Wimbledon in 2009 and 2010.”
Exciting times are ahead for James who has his sights set on a professional career, “As I am now a full time professional player I will be mixing my tournament schedule with ATP men’s futures events, and gaining experience on the British Tour.”
And Josh Milton, 22, is also demonstrating that he is aiming for the top by toughing it out and achieving great results on the AEGON British Tour. Milton is currently a full time professional player based at the National Tennis Centre, Roehampton. He is a talented Welshman with British Tour titles already to his name.
The 2003 Road To Wimbledon runner-up is another young professional with fond memories of playing at the All England Club. The 20-year-old is the current Welsh number 1 player and represented Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He also has qualifying campaigns for Wimbledon under his belt and could reach the main draw in the years to come.
Joshua recollects his Road To Wimbledon journey “I remember very well my participation at the national finals back in 2003. It was a unique event coming through my club and county finals, I remember the thrill of playing on the grass at Wimbledon.”
Milton continues, “In those days I was never sure I was going to be a professional player but I suppose the signs were there that I would eventually lean towards that. I really enjoy my time at the National Tennis Centre as a full time professional player trying to make it on the men’s circuit. It is tough as there are so many good players out there, but I am very committed. I wish this years competitors the best of luck at Wimbledon for the event.”
The 2012 HSBC Road To Wimbledon National Finals will be held at The All England Club from the 13-18 August hoping to continue to inspire the next generations of tennis stars with a memorable Wimbledon experience.