Bedford’s Alexa Wilson 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 & Under Challenge Finals.
The 12-year-old Bedford Girls’ School pupil booked herself a spot at SW19 by triumphing in the County Finals and after qualifying from her group, she made it to the second round at the iconic venue last week before losing to fifth seed Cheri Darley 6-4, 7-5.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon with Wilson 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, Wilson admitted her outing at the All England Club was certainly the highlight of her summer.
“I was quite happy with how I played in general because I came here last year and I wanted to get on a roll again,” she explained.
“I won all my group matches last year and then got knocked out on a tiebreak in the first round of the knockout stage, so I just wanted to enjoy it this time round, which I did.
“It was really cool playing on the courts here at Wimbledon because it gives people who don’t play as much a chance to play at Wimbledon.
“I was really nervous before I went out there because you’re being spectated as well but once you get out there, you relax and enjoy it.”
Wilson, who trains at Halton Tennis Centre, even got the chance to meet former British No.1 and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman while playing at Wimbledon.
Henman spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos with the finalists. He said: “There’s 20,000 kids every year with the Road to Wimbledon and it’s great to see how the standard has improved over the years.
“There’s some really good young players. It’s a great week here but it’s then a lot longer than that with the process of playing in their local areas and regionally and coming through.”
He added: “It’s a great carrot for the youngsters to realise they’ve got this opportunity of coming to play at Wimbledon.”
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.