Berkhamsted tennis sensation Matthew Blood insists he is more determined than ever to see his name up in lights after falling just short of booking his place to play in a prestigious tournament at Wimbledon.
The 12-year-old put his talents on display when he competed in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon East Regional Qualifier at Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City.
Blood was aiming to secure his spot at next month’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14&Under Challenge at the All England Club, but couldn’t find a way past Samuel King – eventually losing in the quarter-finals 2-6 7-5 3-6.
But despite missing out on playing on the famous SW19 turf this year, the Halton Tennis Club starlet insists there is still much more to come from him.
“I think I made a few too many mistakes, which is probably why I didn’t win, but I’m still happy with my performance,” said Blood. “I think I played well.”
“I was pleased with my backhand and my forehand down the line. If I were to replay the match I would try to be more consistent and take bigger steps to hit the deeper balls so that he couldn’t attack.
“I think Sam was the winner because he’s a more consistent player than me and I made too many errors.
“My dream in tennis is to win Wimbledon. I want to bounce back and do well here next year because I’ve had fun at the tournament and it’s given me good experience.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon Challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA, which has now expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India with events in Delhi and Mumbai.
It is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving 850 clubs, parks and schools, and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.
And despite Blood being unable to progress to the next stage, former Davis Cup captain and tournament director Paul Hutchins believes he is still one to watch out for.
“Players are always disappointed when they miss out on qualifying for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon and a chance to play on the grass at Wimbledon,” said Hutchins.
“Hopefully Matthew will be inspired to enter the event next year and be spurred on to achieve great things 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 & 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.