Tennis star Isbell enjoys Wimbledon experience
- Credit: Alex Broadway
Redbridge youngster makes national final at All England Club
Redbridge’s Cameron Isbell insists he will never forget his 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 14-year-old New Hall School pupil booked himself a spot at SW19 after competing in his regional finals and made it all the way to the final of the boys’ singles consolation draw doubles before retiring midway through the final due to a knee injury.
Some 20,000 promising young tennis players from all over Britain competed in pursuit of a prestigious place at Wimbledon with Isbell 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, Isbell admitted his outing at the All England Club was still one to savour.
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“It’s definitely disappointing to have to pull out in the end. It was a tough match, especially the first set where I had set-point at 5-3,” said Isbell, who had been trailing 7-6, 3-0.
“I could have won that one, but he battled well, and I felt my knee go not long into the second set. I’m not sure what it was but I felt it hurt and I couldn’t go on.
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“I’ve had a really good time here though, as it’s always good to play on grass and especially so here where all the professional players compete and train.
“It’s very inspiring, and seeing someone like Tim Henman here coaching and giving out advice is very cool. I’d definitely love to go on and be like him someday.
“I’ve got a Grade Three tournament coming up soon, so hopefully I can recover and do well in that, then I’m heading to La Manga at the end of the summer which will be a nice holiday but I’ll get some training in there too.”
Isbell, who trains at Redbridge Sports Centre, even got the chance to meet HSBC Tournament Ambassador Henman while playing 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.
“There’s 20,000 kids every year with the Road to Wimbledon and it’s great to see how the standard has improved over the years,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
“There’s some really good young players. It’s a great week here but it’s then a lot longer than that with the process of playing in their local areas and regionally and coming through.
“It’s a great carrot for the youngsters to realise they’ve got this opportunity of coming to play at Wimbledon.”
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.