Stockport tennis star Matthew Cooper will not forget his outing at the All England Club in a hurry despite missing out on lifting the trophy at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge Finals.
After triumphing at the previous Regional finals, Stockport Grammar School pupil Cooper took to the famous grass courts last week looking to be crowned national champion.
He put in a promising showing too, reaching the quarter-finals of the doubles competition with Gregor Stott, but saw his singles adventure ended at the group stage.
And while unable to better British number one Andy Murray in getting his hands on a title at Wimbledon this year, Cooper, 14, is grateful to have played at such an iconic venue.
“It’s really special to play at Wimbledon, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m really excited,” he said.
“It’s a big step in my tennis career, I was really happy to get here because it’s my last year to play here.
“I’ve played for Bolton Arena and we got to the national team finals down in Roehampton and I was playing in the lead role for them.
“We came second in the country and the club was really proud, that was two weeks ago.
“That’s given me a lot of confidence, especially because I was leading the team, it was a boost before this.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 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 while it also supports the Wimbledon Foundation through the Ticket Resale Scheme – with the bank matching donations made by the public.
Each year more than 10,000 youngsters take part in the series of national tennis tournaments, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars.
Former British number one Tim Henman was also in attendance for Saturday’s finals day and he admitted he had been impressed with what he had seen.
“I’ve been coming to this event for the past ten years, the enthusiasm of the kids is always the same but every year the standard gets better and better,” he said.
“The ethos of the event is about grassroots, getting more and more people playing the game, but we’ve also seen some brilliant tennis.
“For them this is a great experience, this can hopefully inspire some of them to want to come here in the future and that it’s not just a pipe dream.
“Our 2014 winner, Siddhant Banthia, was at Junior Wimbledon this year, we’re not only giving them the opportunity but the belief that if they work hard, they can go places.”
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 through the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge. @HSBC_sport