TUFFLEY tennis starlet James Holden insists he is as determined than ever to see his name in lights after falling just short of booking his spot at a prestigious Wimbledon tournament.
The 13-year-old has long been tipped as a player to watch and he impressed again at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon South West Regional Qualifier at East Glos Club in Cheltenham.
Holden was playing for a spot at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14-and-Under Challenge at the All England Club.
After winning his first two matches, Holden couldn’t find a way past Callum Findlay in the final round, losing 6-0 6-1.
But despite falling short of the famous SW19 this time, the St Peter’s High School pupil Holden remains keen to fulfil his potential.
“I didn’t play great in my final match, but in the other rounds I did well and I can have a go next year so hopefully I’ll be able to qualify then,” said Holden.
“It’s a great motivation being here and knowing you can get to Wimbledon, I was so close but so far this time.
“I’m doing a couple of Grade 3 and Grade 4 tournaments soon and I just want to finish as best I can.
“I didn’t play great on the grass here so with more experience and a bit more consistency I know I can improve.”
Also in action at Wimbledon was Cheltenham’s Aaron Osmond, who battled bravely before falling to Joel Greatrex 6-4, 7-5 in the second round.
The 13-year-old believes he has a strong chance of qualifying for SW19 next year.
“It was a funny match, the momentum kept swinging either way, but it was a good battle and I didn’t expect to get through the first round,” said the Dean Close School pupil.
“The first match was quite scrappy, I played on his errors and I got through in the end.
“I’ve got tournaments in Torbay and Burnham coming up and hopefully I’ll improve further there.
“I think it’s possible I can come back and get to Wimbledon next year, I’ve never even been as a spectator before.
“I need to keep my game up when I’m winning because I just stopped a bit in the second set this year. There will be a lot of hard players next year but I don’t think I’m too far away.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14-and-Under Challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA.
It has been expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India and events in Delhi and Mumbai.
It is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.
n The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14-and-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.