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Josh stars in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon national finals
1:34pm Monday 26th August 2013 in Sport
A PROMISING young tennis player from Sale experienced the thrill of a lifetime recently, as he joined former British No.1 Tim Henman at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge Finals.
Fourteen-year-old Josh Webster, who qualified for Wimbledon after competing in his county finals, made it all the way to the semi-finals of the boys’ doubles with partner Lewis Denton.
The pair met their match in opponents Joe Tyler and dominic West, however, exiting the tournament after a 6-0, 6-2 defeat.
“I play a lot of grass court tennis so to play here at Wimbledon was really an experience of a lifetime and I’ve been to the championships to watch for the past few years but I didn’t think I would be playing here,” said Josh, a pupil at St Ambrose College in Hale Barns.
He also qualified for the knockout stages of the singles competition.
“I got a little bit nervous at first because there are so many people looking to try and they are all here for a reason but I settled down and tried to hit the ground running.”
More than 20,000 children from all over Britain competed throughout the summer in pursuit of following in the footsteps of Andy Murray by playing at Wimbledon, with the top 128 boys and girls earning the chance to compete at the National Finals, which took place between August 12 and 17.
Josh – currently ranked 21 in the UK – even got the chance to meet former British number one Tim Henman – an ambassador for HSBC, sponsor of the Road to Wimbledon – as he spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos with the finalists.
“The excitement of coming through the gates is still the same for me. It has the best tennis tournament in the world and it is a huge motivating factor for all the kids,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
“You see them out here on the grass where the greats of the game played and it is inspiring and that is where Wimbledon plays a huge part in generating the sport’s interest.”
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.