Rising tennis star Bradley Buckland is eyeing up more playing time at Wimbledon after sharing the famous SW19 grass with former British No.1 Tim Henman.
Last year Buckland reached the National Finals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge, the UK’s largest grass court tournament.
And he was back at the All England Club on Saturday with his reward being a masterclass from Henman on court 19.
With a large crowd gathering Chesterfield Lawn Tennis Club’s Buckland strutted his stuff alongside Henman, and he admits the day will live long in his memory.
“It was brilliant,” said 15-year-old Buckland, from Brampton. “To play against someone like Tim who has obviously done so well in tennis is a great opportunity and there was a great energy and it was good fun.
“As well as being fun though I still learned a lot. It was a good opportunity to actually be at Wimbledon because I want to hopefully be playing here in the next few years anyway.
“And I learned a lot playing with Tim, particularly with his volleys and stuff, it was a good experience.
“My goal now is to be back here at Wimbledon playing in the juniors and I think this will help me do that.”
HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge forms part of HSBC’s investment in grassroots tennis; an area of the sport the Official Banking Partner of The Championships has been supporting since 2008.
Each year over 10,000 youngsters take part in the series of national tennis tournaments, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court.
And Henman insists the future is bright in the hands of Buckland.
“The whole HSBC Road to Wimbledon has come such a long way in the past 13 or 14 years,” HSBC Ambassador Henman said. “It is amazing to see how the standard has improved nationwide and it has been a big success.
“And this is a great day out for people to come and experience it all and get to see the Championships too.
“This is not about trying to produce a Wimbledon champion but it is about improving accessibility and when you have 20,000 kids getting the chance to play and that, with a bit of competition, is going to improve the standard.
“There are some proper players coming through and Bradley is one of them and Wimbledon is the pinnacle of our sport so for them to come and take a look around the grounds will be a big inspiration for them and a big motivating factor.”
- 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. @HSBC_sport