Road to Wimbledon starts in Chichester for young tennis hopefuls

The boys' finalists in Chichester's Road To Wimbledon tournament with organiser Peter Cook
The boys' finalists in Chichester's Road To Wimbledon tournament with organiser Peter Cook

Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club hosted the 2013 HSBC Road to Wimbledon national 14-and-under challenge over two days.

The event starts at club and school level and is open to all boys and girls aged 11 to 14. It 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.

The winners of the first stage will all go through to the county finals and the 44 county winners and 20 best runners-up will qualify for the regional finals. These are played in August before the national finals, a grade-three event held later in the month.

The girls’ singles event was run using a compass draw of eight players, guaranteeing each player three matches.

In the main final Hannah Emerson won gold by beating Firdows French 6-1, 6-3. Hope Edwards won the bronze medal for third place by defeating Charlotte Taylor 6-1, 6-1 in the play-off.

The boys’ singles event was staged using a knockout 32 draw - the eventual final being contested between Matt Spencer and Julian Standish.

Spencer ran out winner for the second year running, winning 6-2, 6-2 with Callum McKitterick picking up third place and the bronze medal, beating John Sullivan 6-3, 1-6, (13-11) in the play-off.

The boys’ singles consolation event was won by Tom Phizackerley - defeating Oliver De Candole 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Tournament referee and organiser Peter Cook, said: “It was very encouraging to witness so many 14 and under girls and boys from the club competing in this annual LTA-sanctioned national event.

“Everyone associated with the club worked really hard to ensure the tournament was a success and with such a high number of entries this year it ran very smoothly.”