READING’S Sophie Drakeford-Lewis ensured Andy Murray wasn’t the only British tennis sensation to lift some silverware at Wimbledon this summer after she celebrated two national titles at SW19.
The 14-year-old joined former British No.1 Tim Henman in South West London on Saturday for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge Finals.
And Drakeford-Lewis saved her best tennis for last after a week of tough competition, winning the girls singles crown with a 7-5, 6-2, victory over Staffordshire’s Megan Davies.
Immediately afterwards however the Halton Tennis Centre star had to contest the girls doubles showpiece and the Abbey School pupil triumphed once more, sealing a 6-2, 6-2 victory alongside Worcestershire’s Ellie-Rose Griffiths.
Some 20,000 children from all over the UK competed throughout the summer looking to follow in the footsteps of 2013 Wimbledon champion Murray, with the top 128 boys and girls earning the chance to compete at the National Finals.
And after becoming just the fifth girl to win both HSBC Road to Wimbledon titles, Drakeford-Lewis revealed that her success at the All England Lawn Tennis Club was certainly the highlight of her summer.
“It feels great to win the HSBC Road to Wimbledon as it’s such a prestigious event and it’s great to have won the tournament on the grass courts at Wimbledon,” said Drakeford-Lewis, who qualified for the tournament after winning the Berkshire County Finals.
“It was a really tough first set in the singles and I was a bit nervous before I went on court and I think that showed in my game but I managed to get myself together, to get back to 5-5 having been 3-5 down and to win the set 7-5 I felt really proud.
“It’s been a tough week playing all these matches, I played three matches in a day and that was quite tough but it’s been great to play on the Wimbledon courts.
“Winning this tournament has built up my confidence a lot because I was starting to doubt myself but now I’m really looking forward to next week’s nationals.”
Drakeford-Lewis even got the chance to meet former British number one and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Tim Henman 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,” Henman said.
“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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