Dream come true for New Malden Road to Wimbledon finalist

New Malden’s Jorge Beltrao insists he will never forget his 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 14-year-old Richard Challoner School pupil booked himself a spot at SW19 by triumphing in the Regional Finals but he was knocked out in the group stages at the iconic venue with one win from three games.

HSBC Road to Wimbledon is Britain’s largest grass court tournament, involving more than 10,000 youngsters each year.

And, despite failing to follow in Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray’s footsteps by lifting silverware at SW19 this year, Beltrao admitted his outing at the All England Club was certainly the highlight of his summer.

“I was really excited to play on the grass courts for the first time,” he said.

“It made it special, walking around Wimbledon, knowing that you are following in the footsteps off the tennis players we watch and idolise day to day.

“When I woke up in the morning, not only was I excited but I was also quite determined as well, it was brilliant being there.

“It’s cool to have an ambassador like Tim, as he has done it all, and the fact that he is watching you now is a switch of roles, so it was quite cool.

“You realise that if he’s supporting you and that he did very well here that maybe you can go all the way yourself.

“I want to try and make it onto the tour and become a pro tennis player, to achieve that, I have to up my hours and work extra hard.”

HSBC Road to Wimbledon offers youngsters the chance to meet their tennis heroes and inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers ‘from the back garden to Centre Court’, while it also supports the Wimbledon Foundation through the Ticket Resale Scheme – with the bank matching donations made by the public.

And on Monday Beltrao, who trains at Westside Lawn Tennis Club, got the chance to meet former British No.1 and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman while playing at Wimbledon.

The former world number four 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,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.

“There’s some really good young players and it’s a great carrot for the youngsters to realise they’ve got this opportunity of coming to play at Wimbledon.

“HSBC has been a proud investor in grassroots tennis around the world since 2008 and the ‘Road To Wimbledon’ National 14 and Under Challenge forms a key part of this investment in grassroots tennis in the UK.”

HSBC is the Official Banking Partner of The Championships and is committed to supporting grassroots tennis, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court through the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge. @HSBC_sport

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