It’s not every day you get to meet your sporting idol, but that is exactly what happened to Stockport tennis fan Sam Brown after reaching the national finals of the inaugural Jaguar Championships.
Brown – along with three other members of David Lloyd Cheadle’s tennis club Stuart Owens, Amanda Robinson and Beverley White – faced stiff competition from seven other teams at David Lloyd’s Raynes Park facility in London on Sunday, watched on by former British number one Tim Henman.
The inaugural Jaguar Championships saw 1200 players from up and down the country battle it out for a spot in Sunday’s finals, where a prize of Wimbledon quarter-finals tickets were up for grabs, plus the opportunity to drive Jaguar’s All-New F-PACE for a weekend of their choice.
And while Brown and co were not victorious on the day, the 27-year-old admitted the opportunity to meet his childhood hero capped off a thrilling day in South London.
“Before I played, I saw Tim Henman and it made me nervous, but it was exciting to play in front of such a great player,” said Brown, who attended Bramhall High School.
“I was a little bit starstruck because I used to watch a lot of Wimbledon when I was younger, but Tim was a nice guy and very polite.
“The Jaguar Championships was one of the big targets when people from David Lloyd asked if we wanted to play in it, and of course we said yes.
“I have enjoyed the tennis because it was a good standard. There are some good players out there and it was all played in the right spirit.”
David Lloyd launched The Jaguar Championships, an inaugural mixed-doubles event which will now feature as part of it 2016 Total Tennis Calendar, and Jaguar ambassador Henman was the star attraction at the event as he watched all the action get underway.
And after taking to the umpire’s chair to oversee the day’s finals, the 41-year-old admits he was impressed with the talent on show.
“For me, one of the most important things about the Jaguar Championships is the participation, getting more and more people into the game,” said the one-time world number four.
“It’s a great opportunity on a lot of different levels and when you see the number of people participating today, I think they’re very happy to have Jaguar’s support.
“I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen. I’ve been watching the tennis and I was quite glad I wasn’t on court because there are some really good players.
“That is no great surprise because if you get a lot of people playing, the best ones will come through, and with this opportunity of competing in the Jaguar Championships, you’re going to see some good players so that was definitely a good sign.
“I hope that the Jaguar Championships can grow and continue to encourage more people to play the game and give more opportunities to them.”
Tim Henman was speaking at The Jaguar Championships as part of Jaguar’s partnership with David Lloyd Leisure. Visit http://www.jaguar.co.uk/jaguar-range/f-pace/index.html to find out more about the F-PACE, the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon