He may have missed out on the chance to follow in Sir Andy Murray’s footsteps at Wimbledon this summer but Cheadle tennis star Jonah Gethin insists his tennis dreams still burn brightly.
World number one Murray will once again spearhead the British charge when this year’s Championships get underway on Monday July 3.
Cheadle Hulme School pupil Gethin had the chance to also join him at the world-famous venue when he took part at last weekend’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon North Regional Qualifier at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Centre.
The 13-year-old was playing for a spot at the National Finals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All-England Club between August 14 and 19.
And, despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts this time around, Gethin, who trains at the David Lloyd Centre in Cheadle and at the Bolton Arena, is adamant we haven’t seen the last of him after losing out to JB Pickard 6-4 6-2 in the first round.
“I thought I played quite well. It was the first time I had played my opponent. I couldn’t do anything with his backhand though.
“I tried to make him work for it and I didn’t give up. I’ll try and win more games next time. Next time I want to have a bigger serve – it wasn’t big enough today.
“This was my first Road to Wimbledon and I thought it was a really good experience.
“I started playing tennis when I was six, back in Hong Kong, so I’ve been playing for seven years now. On the court, I think my strengths are my backhands, which are normally quite solid and mentally, I’m quite tough as well.
“It would be cool to make a career out of tennis professionally. I play some football too but that’s pretty much it.”
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.
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.
Gethin was joined in taking to the court by Marple Bridge’s Mason Drace, who also trains at David Lloyd Cheadle.
However a muscle injury sustained in the run up to the tournament hindered his progress, forcing him to retire from his opening round match with Billy Blaydes with the score at 6-3 4-0.
“A few days before the competition I hurt my oblique muscle. I tried to rest for a few days before but it came back in the game. My opponent was a good player,” he said afterwards.
“He was a very big guy, he was much bigger than me. I played very well but I just wish I could have carried on and finished the match but I didn’t want to make it worse and make the tear any bigger.
“Last year I played the county one, got to Wimbledon and played there, got to the quarter-finals and lost. I think the whole experience is good. The event is very well organised and it’s nice to get to play on grass once in a while. I really like playing on grass. There are only a couple of tennis clubs who let players of our age play on grass.”
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