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TENNIS: Swindon starlet aims for Wimbledon glory
SWINDON tennis sensation Sophie Clark will aim to succeed where Andy Murray failed this year after booking her spot at a prestigious Wimbledon tournament.
The 14-year-old has long been known as one to watch for the future and was at it again on Sunday as she claimed victory at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon South West Regional Qualifier at East Glos Club in Gloucestershire.
Clark, a member of Next Generation Swindon, will now play in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club between August 11 and 16.
Murray lost in the quarter-finals at SW19 earlier this month and Isambard Community School pupil Clark says she can’t wait to grace the hallowed Wimbledon turf after experiencing his first taste of the tournament last year.
“I had a good weekend and it’s a great accomplishment to go back again, I was there last year as well,” said Clark, who beat Erin Richardson 6-3 6-3 in the final round.
“I got into the main draw but I lost in the first round, so hopefully this year I can do my best and go further.
“Since then my movement has improved a lot and I’m able to get to more balls so I think I have a better chance.
“It was really cool playing at Wimbledon and to be able to go a second time is brilliant.”
Also in action on the weekend was Cricklade’s Ethan Miller, who battled bravely before losing to eventual winner Pierce Widdecombe in the first round.
And despite the setback, the 12-year-old insists he is hungrier than ever to see his name up in lights at Wimbledon.
“I missed a few points but I thought I had a chance at 2-2 all the first set,” said Miller.
“I knew at about 4-1 down at the second set I didn’t have a chance but it was always going to be tough, my opponent was a year older than me and was the No.3 seed.
“I thought I did pretty well. I’m going to a Spanish tennis academy in Sotogrande, I go every year for a camp and it helps a lot with different surfaces.
“It was my first time on grass and much different from what I’m used to, but hopefully in the next two years I can come back and get to 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.