Willesden tennis star Zachary Phillips inspired by Wimbledon experience

Tim Henman with Capital City Academy student Zachary Phillips during the HSBC Road to Wimbledon. (Ph

Tim Henman with Capital City Academy student Zachary Phillips during the HSBC Road to Wimbledon. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images for HSBC) - Credit: Getty Images for HSBC

Willesden youngster Zachary Phillips says his Wimbledon experience will inspire him to new heights after playing in front of Tim Henman at the All England Club.

The 13-year-old, a student at Capital City Academy, came through the regional tournament – contested by 20,000 boys and girls from around the country – to reach the HSBC Road to Wimbledon national 14-and-under challenge finals.

Phillips won two matches before being knocked out just short of a semi-final spot in the boys’ consolation draw and feels he gained enormously just from playing at the world-famous SW19 venue.

“It was a very good experience for me. It was the first time I’ve been to Wimbledon and the first time I got to actually play instead of watching other people, which was just amazing,” Phillips said.

“This will really inspire me to push on with my tennis. I can enter the Road to Wimbledon event again next year so hopefully I can come back even stronger.

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“My ultimate dream is to push on and turn professional. I know it will take a lot of hard work but playing in tournaments like Road to Wimbledon gives you a taste of the big time.

“It will inspire me to keep going. I hope I can now see how good I have to be to compete with the best.”

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Phillips, along with the other competitors at the finals, got to meet former British no1 and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman, who is the tournament ambassador.

“I’ve been involved for the 12 years of the programme and it’s fantastic to see how the standard has improved,” said Henman.

“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, those types of values will get you a long way in life.”

n The HSBC Road to Wimbledon national 14-and-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. Visit www.hsbcroadtowimbledon.com for more information.

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