TENNIS: Swindon's Sophie teams up with Henman at Wimbledon
6:00am Monday 26th August 2013 in Latest News
SWINDON’S Sophie Clark took to the lawns of Wimbledon alongside former British number one Tim Henman as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge Finals.
The 13-year-old Isambard pupil, who qualified for Wimbledon after she won her county finals, triumphed in two of her group matches before being knocked out in round one of the main draw.
Some 20,000 children competed throughout the summer in the hope 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.
And the Next Generation starlet revealed that arriving as a player at the All England Lawn Tennis Club was the highlight of her summer.
“I was really happy when I first found out I would be playing at Wimbledon as I only won the county final on a tie-break, so having that in the back of my mind definitely got me through some tough matches,” said Clark.
“I came here in 2011 to watch and saw Andy Roddick and Robin Soderling, but I never thought I could come here as a player and it is really cool to know I have played on the same courts as they have.”
Also in action was Swindon’s Matthew Daniels and although the 14-year-old Highworth Warneford pupil bowed out in the first round of the boys’ consolation draw, he believes the thrill of playing at Wimbledon made the experience more than worthwhile.
“Playing at Wimbledon is really different and it took me a while to get used to the surface, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to play here,” said Daniels.
“It was a great achievement for me to get this far in the tournament as I have enjoyed the challenge of playing tougher competition as it spurs me on.”
Clark and Daniels even got the chance to meet HSBC tournament ambassador Henman, who signed autographs and posed for photos with the finalists.
“The excitement of coming through the gates is still the same for me. Wimbledon is the best tennis tournament in the world and it is a huge motivating factor for all the kids,” said Henman.
“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 & 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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