CHICHESTER tennis starlet Noah Burton admits watching this year’s Wimbledon is made all the more difficult after he fell just short of strutting his stuff at the world famous venue.
As the likes of British No1 Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams show what they can do at this year’s Wimbledon, Burton had the chance to follow suit as he competed in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon south-east regional qualifier at West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club.
The 13-year-old was playing for a spot at August’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 and under challenge at the All England Club but lost in the first round to Esah Hayat, going down 6-2, 6-1.
But despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts this time around, Bishop Luffa School pupil Burton is adamant we haven’t seen the last of him.
“I enjoyed the match – that was the main thing. I felt it was quite difficult but I had some fun points in between,” said Burton, who plays for Portsmouth Tennis Academy.
“Even though I was hitting balls in the net and lost two service games by double faults, I tried to keep smiling and keep my head up.
“I was quite happy with the score. He played for the Great Britain deaf team so he’s played to a high standard. I felt like I put up a good fight and I enjoyed it.
“It’s one of my first games on grass this year. I normally play on astro or hard courts.
“The balls bounce differently on this surface. Hopefully I’ll come back next year and try again. It would mean everything to get to Wimbledon.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 and under Challenge began in 2002 and is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.
And, although Burton failed to advance to Wimbledon, former British No1 Tim Henman believes he is still very much one to watch out for in the future.
“Players are always disappointed when they miss out on qualifying for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Final and a chance to play on the grass courts at Wimbledon,” said Henman.
“Hopefully Noah will be spurred on to greater achievements in his junior career and who knows maybe even to play at The Championships as a professional player in the future.”
* The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and under challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass-court tournament and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.
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