Over the summer, after triumphing in the County Tennis Finals, Oundle School’s Pippa Bourne enjoyed an outing at the All England Club, where she played in front of former British No.1 Tim Henman as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge Finals.
Pippa made it to the second round at the iconic venue before losing to sixth seed and eventual finalist Alicia Dudeney 6-2, 6-3.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon, with Pippa among the top 144 boys and girls to have earned the right to play at the National Finals.
Pippa’s experience at the All England Club, Wimbledon was the highlight of her summer: “I played reasonably overall and really enjoyed it but it was quite hard adjusting to the courts. I have never played on grass before but it was so exciting to be at Wimbledon – slightly surreal but fun. My attitude was that I wanted to enjoy the week, have a good time, meet some new people and if I won a couple of game as well, that would be nice.”
Pippa trains at Stamford Tennis Club and went to Lincoln to qualify for the event. This is the first year she has made it to Wimbledon, where she had the opportunity to meet former British No.1 and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman. Four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos. He insisted he was impressed with the standard on show this year, commenting: “There’s 20,000 kids every year with the HSBC Road to Wimbledon and it’s great to see how the standard has improved over the years. There’s some really good young players. It’s a great week here but it’s then a lot longer than that with the process of playing in their local areas and regionally and coming through. It’s a great carrot for the youngsters to realise they’ve got this opportunity of coming to play at Wimbledon.”
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.