By Pippa Field

Bromley tennis sensation Emma Raducanu admits she has to pinch herself in amazement when she thinks about following in Andy Murray’s footsteps by strutting her stuff at Wimbledon.

As the likes of British number one Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams show what they can do at this year’s Wimbledon, Raducanu can rest safe in the knowledge that she too will soon follow suit.

The 12-year-old has long been known as one to watch for the future and was at it again as she claimed victory in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon south east regional qualifier at the West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club.

Raducanu, a member of Bromley Tennis Academy, will now play in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club between August 10 and 15.

Murray made history at Wimbledon back in 2013 when he became the first British winner of the Grand Slam in 77 years, and Newstead Wood School pupil Raducanu admits she can’t wait to grace the hallowed turf.

“It feels great because I’ve always wanted to play at Wimbledon,” said Raducanu, who beat Eloïse Saraty 6-1, 6-4 in her final match to book her Wimbledon spot.

“It’s what you aim for.

“This is my first time of doing Road to Wimbledon so I’m happy to have been so successful.

“I had a good start, I was playing aggressively and won the first set quite quickly but then in the second set, she started to hit more winners and not as many mistakes so it made the match closer.

“I’m going to practice building my shots so I can build earlier on in the point.”

The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & under Challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA.

It has now expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India seeing events held in Delhi and Mumbai and is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.

Raducanu was not the only representative from the area to taste success either with Bromley’s Harvey Conway doing likewise in the boys competition.

The 14-year-old, also a member of Bromley Tennis Academy, came from behind to beat Taylor Papworth 6-7, 6-4, 10-8 and make up for last year’s disappointment at the same stage.

“I’m really happy after I won my tight last match,” said the Langley Park School for Boys pupil. 

“It could have gone either way so I’m really relieved. I played last year but lost at the final stage.

“Having eight set points in the first set and then losing it 14-12 in the tie-break, and then going 5-0 down in the match tiebreak, last year was on my mind a bit.

“But I battled back and came through. I’m just going to relax between now and Wimbledon and try and stay calm about the fact I will be playing there.”

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.

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