Ace Tom misses out on Road to Wimbledon trophy

Tom Bocking
Tom Bocking

Tennis star Tom Bocking will not forget his outing at the All England Club in a hurry despite missing out on lifting the trophy at the Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge Finals.

After triumphing at the previous Regional finals, Ousedale School pupil Bocking took to the famous grass courts last week looking to be crowned national champion.

He put in a promising showing too, but his adventure ended at the round robin stage as he was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Tomáš Grime.

And while unable to better former British number one and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in getting his hands on a title at SW19, Bocking, 13, insists it has only fuelled his desire to come back to the iconic venue again to play one day.

“I found it really exciting, I’ve never done this sort of thing before,” said the Milton Keynes Tennis Club player.

“It’s a different experience and I really enjoyed it. It’s really inspiring knowing Wimbledon champions have played on these courts.

“I’ve played tennis since I was six, but I’ve never been to a national final before.

“I’ve learnt a lot, it was my first experience playing on grass as well.”

The Road to Wimbledon began in 2002 and expanded initially to India in 2014 – it has since added qualifying events in China, Hong Kong, India and Japan.

Juniors participate in the UK in England, Scotland and Wales, starting in their club, park or school, with players qualifying for the county finals and then to National Finals.

Each year over 10,000 youngsters take part in the series of national tennis tournaments, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars.

Former British number one Tim Henman was also in attendance for Saturday’s finals day and he admitted he had been impressed with what he had seen.

"This event has been taking place for 15 years and the kids that come to Wimbledon make some amazing memories" said Henman.

"The Championships is the biggest and best tournament in the world, so giving people the opportunity to experience the facilities and the grass is special.

"The standard is getting better all the time. When we first started it was about participation but as the event has grown, we've attracted some really top-quality players."

PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR - The All England Club Wimbledon and the LTA are fully committed to giving opportunities for 14 & under juniors of all standards to compete Nationwide in the Road to Wimbledon via firstly their club, park or school and to have the incentive to qualify to play in the National Finals on grass at Wimbledon.