Chichester tennis starlet Noah Burton insisted he could still hold high despite missing out on a dream Wimbledon date.
As the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams all get ready for another year at SW19, Burton was hoping to join them as he took part in last weekend’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon south-east regional qualifier.
West Worthing Lawn Tennis Club hosted the competition, which was temporarily converted to look like Wimbledon.
The 14-year-old Bishop Luffa School pupil, was looking to book a spot in August’s national final but his hopes were dashed following a first-round defeat in regional qualification.
After winning the first set in comprehensive fashion 6-0, Burton’s opponent Lemuel Cassidy recovered to win 0-6, 6-2, 10-6 in a tie-break final set.
Burton believes he should have done a little better in the first-round encounter and said: “I feel I should have done better serving wise but I feel I played at the level that I expect and couldn’t have played much better.
“Lemuel is a good player, it was very close and was a good match.
“This was my last chance to play in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon and I have really enjoyed playing in the competition.
“I got to play on Centre Court here at West Worthing with the ball boys and ball girls and it was a really good experience from which I have learned a lot.
“It was also great to see Judy Murray up close and I really enjoyed the tricks and skills that she got us to do.”
HSBC ambassador and current British number one Andy Murray’s mother Judy was in attendance.
She was hugely impressed with the level of talent on show in the south-east showpiece.
Murray said: “Wimbledon is one of those places that most people have on their bucket list but most are only able to see it on television.
“So the HSBC Road to Wimbledon is creating a wonderful opportunity for kids across the country.
“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 stages.”
* 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 – follow @HSBC_sport