Youngsters' road to Wimbledon starts at Chichester

James Pollard with Peter Cook
James Pollard with Peter Cook

Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club has sent young tennis aces on the road to Wimbledon.

They hosted their legs of the 2019 LTA Road to Wimbledon 14-and-under girls and boys Tennis Challenge event.

Gemma Appleton with Peter Cook

Gemma Appleton with Peter Cook

This unique competition, supported by Slazenger, provides an opportunity for venues to engage and inspire their young players. By entering the tournament and staging an event, each venue can give players the chance to qualify to compete on the grass courts at Wimbledon.

Chichester’s tournament was the initial club stage of this national event with the winners of the girls’ and boys’ events qualifying for the county stage.

The winners from each county stage proceed to the national finals at the All England Club later in the year.

The boys’ event was run using a compass draw using the Fast4Tennis scoring format (best of three short sets, first to four games).

The winner in the boys’ event was James Pollard, who defeated Sean Savage Melendez 4-2, 4-0 in an entertaining final to collect the gold medal and qualify for the county finals.

In the girls’ event, the winner and collecting the gold medal and the automatic qualification spot was Gemma Appleton, who defeated Eva Deal 4-1, 3-4, 10-7 in the final.

Tournament referee Peter Cook said: “This event was played in a really great spirit. It was good to see both the girls and boys from Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club playing their respective events concurrently, even though the extremely wet conditions made playing difficult, even on the clay courts.

“I wish both winners the very best of luck at the next stage.”