Culford pupil just misses out on national tennis finals

TENNIS HOPES: Ralph Bartlett
TENNIS HOPES: Ralph Bartlett
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He may have narrowly missed out on the chance to follow in Sir Andy Murray’s footsteps at Wimbledon this summer, but Ralph Bartlett insists his tennis dreams still burn brightly.

Culford School pupil Bartlett had the chance to join the British number one at the world-famous venue when he took part in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon East Regional Qualifier at Gosling Tennis Centre in Welwyn Garden City.

The 12-year-old was playing for a spot in the National Finals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 and Under Challenge at the All England Club between August 14 and 19.

And, despite falling short of an outing to the famous SW19 courts, Bartlett, who trains at Culford Tennis Club, is adamant we haven’t seen the last of him after losing to Yujiro Onuma 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6) in the final round.

“I had chances to win it, but there’s always the future,” said Bartlett. “I’ve got two more years to get to Wimbledon.

“I’m happy with how I played, I played well – I used my forehand well.

“I’d definitely do it again, and see how far I get. It was well run and the referees were amazing.”

Bury St Edmunds youngster Haadi Shah also lost 6-2, 6-3 to Frederick Withers in round one as did Horringer Court Middle School pupil Seth Newman, 12.

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 and Under Challenge.