BLOCKLEY tennis starlet James Elliott insists he is hungrier than ever to see his name in lights after falling just short of booking a spot at a prestigious Wimbledon tournament.
The 13-year-old was in action at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon south-west regional qualifier at East Glos Club, Gloucestershire.
Elliott was playing for a spot at next month’s 14 and under challenge at the All England Club but could not find a way past Joel While in the first round, losing 6-2, 6-4.
Despite falling short of the famous SW19, the Chipping Campden School pupil is adamant he will bounce back.
“It was difficult because it was my first time playing on grass courts,” said Elliott, a member of Oxstalls Tennis Centre, Gloucester.
“But I was in the running for a lot of points so I think I did OK overall.
“For next year, I need to improve on my slice backhands and get better on the grass. I’d never experienced a grade two tournament before so I know what I need to do now.
“It’s good inspiration to try to get to Wimbledon and hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish it in the future.”
The competition began in 2002 and has now expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India.
The United Kingdom tournament involves 850 clubs, parks and schools.
Although Elliott failed to advance, former Davis Cup captain and tournament director Paul Hutchins believes he is still one to watch out for in the future.
Hutchins said: “Hopefully, James will be inspired to enter the event next year if age eligible or be spurred on to greater achievements in his junior career and, who knows, maybe play at Junior Wimbledon during the championships or even as a pro player in the main draw.”
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.