Wimbledon tennis starlet Arthur Fery admits he is pinching himself in amazement as he prepares to follow in Andy Murray’s footsteps and star at Wimbledon.
As the likes of British No.1 Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams gear up for this month’s Wimbledon assault, Fery can rest safe in the knowledge that he also has a spot booked at the world-famous venue.
The 13-year-old King’s College pupil has long been known as one to watch for the future, and he was at it again on Sunday as he claimed victory at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon South East Regional Qualifier.
He was competing at West Worthing Lawn Tennis Club, which had been converted to look like Wimbledon and where Judy Murray held a training session with the players in attendance.
Fery, who trains at Westside LTC, will now play in the National Finals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club between August 8 and 13, where he will be looking to walk away overall champion of the tournament.
Murray made history at Wimbledon back in 2013 when he became the first British winner of the Grand Slam in 77 years, and Fery admits he can’t wait to grace the hallowed turf himself after beating Adam Walker 6-2 6-1 in his final qualifying match.
Fery said: “I am really excited. I have gone there every year as a fan for the last five years or so and it is great to think I will now be playing on the courts recognised as being some of being the best in the world.
“It is a place with a lot of history in tennis and it is a special place. It is a dream come true.
“The Road to Wimbledon is a great competition because it enables kids like me to play on grass when they don’t often get the chance to and you also get to play kids from other countries, which doesn’t happen often.
“It is hard to know what lies ahead but I am hoping to get through a few rounds.”
Wimbledon’s Vraj Patel, 13, also lost in a final qualifier to Oliver Richards 6-2 6-3, having beaten Jamie Forrest the day before.
And Haruki Omori-Cowie lost his final qualifier to Oscar Weightman 6-0 6-4 after a win over Sebastian Holden 24 hours earlier.
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge, the UK’s largest grass court tournament, forms part of HSBC’s investment in grassroots tennis; an area of the sport the Official Banking Partner of The Championships has been supporting since 2008
Each year over 10,000 youngsters take part in the series of national tennis tournaments, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court.
And after watching the action for herself at the South East regional qualifier, HSBC ambassador and former Scottish international tennis player Judy Murray was impressed with what she saw from the crop of 2016.
“The HSBC Road to Wimbledon is a wonderful grassroots programme which more than 10,000 youngsters take part in each year and culminates in the chance to play at Wimbledon, which is every young tennis players’ dream and inspires them every year,” Murray said.
“This programme is a very big part of the British tennis calendar and youngsters recognise the HSBC Road to Wimbledon as a tournament that offers a prize to play at Wimbledon. This prize is a real incentive to enter and do their very best to make it to the final stage.
“Going along and receiving coaching on how to hit the ball properly is one thing but competitive opportunities at a young age need to be fun and stimulating because you want them to enjoy the sport and keep coming back. In my opinion it doesn’t get more stimulating than the ultimate prize of being able to play at Wimbledon.
“Wimbledon is one of those places that is on most people’s bucket list or it is their dream to go there but for most people they are only able to see it on the television so the HSBC Road to Wimbledon is creating a wonderful opportunity for kids across the country.”
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