Wimbledon tennis starlet eyes going pro after Tim Henman masterclass

Wimbledon tennis sensation Alice Klugman believes her game will improve hugely after a lesson from former British No.1 Tim Henman.

Alice Klugman was at the All England Club on Saturday to learn some tips of the trade from Henman as well as playing a few points against the four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.

The 13-year-old earned the opportunity after reaching the final of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge last summer.

Klugman, who trains at Westside Tennis Club, spent a week playing at SW19 last August winning both the county singles and doubles finals.

Her strong performances gave the Surbiton High School pupil the chance to train with Henman 12 months later, while 1999 ladies champions Lindsay Davenport was also on hand to hit with and Klugman admits it’s an experience she will never forget.

“It was really good to have the opportunity to play with two really big stars, seeing how they play and how good they are compared to us,” she said.

“I was pretty happy with how I was playing – it’s a bit different on grass because the ball comes a lot quicker so you have to get used to it.

“I won the county event at Road to Wimbledon last year and it was a really fun experience to spend a whole week at Wimbledon.

“I come pretty much every year as a fan but it was so fun to play here – I met a few friends and my doubles partner came all the way in from Jersey as well.

“My aim is to go professional and I think I’m on track for that.”

The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & under Challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA – it has now expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India seeing events held in Delhi and Mumbai.

It is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters annually bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.

And Henman admits there was plenty of talent on display from all of last year’s finalist, including Klugman, on Saturday.

“I was very impressed with what I saw from all the kids out there,” he said. “I’ve been involved with HSBC Road to Wimbledon for about 13 years now and the standard gets better and better every year.

“The programme is about accessibility, grassroots and the participation but hopefully some of these youngsters out on the court will progress as well and maybe get back here as professionals one day.”

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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