Tuesday, August 19, 2014
EXMOUTH’S Evie Jones insists she will never forget her outing at the All England Club after starring in front of former British No.1 Tim Henman as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge Finals, writes Jack Skelton.
The 14-year-old Colyton Grammar School pupil booked herself a spot at SW19 after competing in her County Finals and won one group match before being knocked out in the second round of the Girls Consolation draw.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon with Jones among the top 144 boys and girls to have earned the right to play at the National Finals.
And, despite failing to follow in 2013 Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray’s footsteps by lifting silverware at SW19, Jones admitted her outing at the All England Club was certainly the highlight of her summer.
“It was a great experience to play at Wimbledon and so exciting – especially after I watched Rafael Nadal lose in the first round here last year when the atmosphere was incredible,” Jones said.
“I don’t enter many tournaments but I really like playing on grass because you can have different tactics and play more drop shots.”
Jones, who plays at Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, got the chance to meet former British No.1 and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman while she was at Wimbledon.
Henman spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos with the finalists and insisted he was impressed with the standard on show this year at SW19.
“I’ve been involved for the 12 years of the programme and it’s fantastic to see how the standard has improved,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
“There are kids that are going to want to play tournaments and compete at a higher level and this is a great stepping stone, to have this experience and learn from the match-play and competition.
“You talk about the mental side of things, and it’s that application, going out there and giving 100 per cent is all you can do – those types of values will get you a long way in life.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & 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 - www.hsbcroadtowimbledon.com