HOOK’S Helena Mason insists she will never forget her outing at the All England Club after starring in front of former British number one Tim Henman as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14-and-Under Challenge Finals.
The 13-year-old Robert May’s School pupil booked herself a spot at SW19 after competing in her County Finals and won one group match before being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the girls consolation draw.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon, with Mason among the top 144 boys and girls to have earned the right to play at the National Finals.
Despite failing to follow in 2013 Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray’s footsteps by lifting silverware at SW19, Mason admitted her outing at the All England Lawn Tennis Club was certainly the highlight of her summer.
“It was my first time playing at Wimbledon and I really enjoyed everything there was to do, not just the tennis,” Mason said. “It was a fantastic experience.
“I would love to win Wimbledon one day because it’s the home of tennis and the most impressive grand slam to win.”
Mason, who attends Winchester Tennis Club, even got the chance to meet former British number one and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman during her time at Wimbledon.
Henman spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos with the finalists. He was impressed with the standard on show at SW19.
And Mason was not the only player from the area to grace the grass courts of Wimbledon, with Oakridge’s Liam Hignett also in action.
The 14-year-old Sherfield School pupil qualified through his Regional Finals before being knocked out in the first round of the boys consolation draw.
“I arrived in good form after doing well in tournaments since the qualifiers and I have played quite a lot on grass too, which was an advantage,” said Hignett, who plays at Totally Tennis. “The courts are perfect and it was really exciting after coming as a reserve last year. Coming back just makes me feel great and I know I’ve improved a lot.”
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.
Visit hsbcroadtowimbledon.com for more information.