Harrow's Amy Allman insists she will never forget her outing at the All England Club after starring in front of former British number one Tim Henman as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge Finals.
The 13-year-old, who attends Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, booked herself a spot at SW19 after competing in her County Finals and won two group matches before being knocked out in the second round of the Girls County draw.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon with Allman among the top 144 boys and girls to have earned the right to play at the National Finals.
And, despite failing to follow in 2013 Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray’s footsteps by lifting silverware at SW19, Allman admitted her outing at the All England Club was certainly the highlight of her summer.
“It was amazing to play at Wimbledon. I’ve always thought about how cool it would be to play there,” said Allman, who is a member of Kenton Tennis Club.
“I’ve grown up playing tennis and I watch the Championships every year so I was desperate to get the chance to play there. It definitely lived up to my expectations.
“When I was playing I was wondering whether Rafael Nadal had played on my court and it was quite a surreal thought to have.
“To have this opportunity at such as young age is something I will never forget. I went to Wimbledon last year and was watching on Centre Court and I never thought I would get back there as a player.”
Allman even got the chance to meet former British No.1 and HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman while she was at Wimbledon.
Henman spent time with the players, signed autographs, and posed for photos with the finalists and insisted he was impressed with the standard on show this year at SW19.
“I’ve been involved for the 12 years of the programme and it’s fantastic to see how the standard has improved,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
“There are kids that are going to want to play tournaments and compete at a higher level and this is a great stepping stone, to have this experience and learn from the match-play and competition.
“You talk about the mental side of things, and it’s that application, going out there and giving 100 per cent is all you can do – those types of values will get you a long way in life.”
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 - www.hsbcroadtowimbledon.com