The final day of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 and Under National Challenge was filled with great tennis and a guest appearance from Tim Henman, former British No. 1 and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist, who turned out to support the event.
Dorset’s Ryan Frankel took the Boys Singles title after a two-and-a-half hour battle against Yorkshire’s Peter Ashley. The 14-year-old eventually won the highly competitive contest 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-1 to stake his claim on the trophy and a £500 coaching grant courtesy of HSBC.
“It’s really been a great experience. I’ve wanted to play here since I was young and to finally do it is great. I’ve played on grass before, but nothing quite like this,” said Frankel.
“It was a tough match today and at one point I was a set and 4-2 down but I pulled through and I’ll take a lot of confidence from this into my next tournament.”
Birthday girl Kim Schmider added two more presents to her collection as she claimed the Girls Singles and Doubles trophies after a fantastic week.
Successfully defeating Staffordshire’s Elle Stokes 6-3, 6-3 in the girls final, Schmider later teamed up with Wales’ Amy Leiu to take a clean sweep of the titles.
“I’ve had such a great time here. To play at Wimbledon is an amazing experience and to win on my birthday makes it even more special,” said Schmider.
“I played well in the final, both sets were close in the beginning but I managed to get ahead and win. I think my consistency is what won it for me in the end: I was mentally stronger…and Tim [Henman] wished me luck before I went on which I think helped as well!
“I’ve got the County Closed next week so I can go there and tell everyone about my Wimbledon experience.”
The Boys Doubles was won by Joseph Hill and Simon Pritchard who took the title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Boys Singles champion Ryan Frankel and his partner Jordan Parker.
Oliver Walkden of Lancashire was the Boys Consolation Draw winner. His 6-4, 6-3 victory over Scotland’s Allan McClure finished off a great week for the 14-year-old who had not played on grass courts before.
“Today’s final was really good: The first set went with serve until I broke him at 5-4. From then on I continued to play well and kept up my game to take the win. I think my game suits the grass and I’ve played well here all week,” said Walkden.
“It’s quite surreal that Tim Henman was watching me play tennis; just being around him is inspiring.
“I’m playing in the County Closed event next week and this has given me a lot of confidence going into that. Hopefully I can go on from here and keep improving my game.
“I’d like to thank all of the tournament staff and organisers for a fantastic week, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wimbledon.”
In the Girls Consolation Draw Surry’s Kelly Burge took the title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Devon’s Isabella Brown.
Speaking after Burge said: “I’ve had a fantastic week here. I’ve played on grass before but these courts are so much better. To be at Wimbledon where Federer and Nadal have played is amazing: it’s like another world!
“I played Isabella [Brown] in the group stage and lost to her, so to beat her in the final is really good, it’s given me a lot of confidence.”
Tim Henman, who hosted a clinic for HSBC Road to Wimbledon participants in the morning, said: “Today’s finals have been a fantastic display of what the HSBC Road to Wimbledon Challenge can do for tennis. All of the children played exceptionally well and I look forward to seeing how their tennis progresses. I participated in HSBC’s schools event as a junior and I’m happy to see what they are doing to nurture the players of the future after supporting me throughout much of my career.”
Paul Hutchins, tournament director, said:”It has been so great to give so many juniors an experience to play on the grass at Wimbledon with perfect weather all week
“I would really like many of these players to progress through the age groups and for some to have the ambition to play in the Championships within the next ten years.”
The tournament now looks forward to 2010 when many more juniors will compete in the Club and County stages of the event for a chance to play on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).