Two young tennis players from Lancashire will have the opportunity to compete on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon this month. Oliver Critchley, of Hale, Altrincham and Lucy Cunliffe from Haydock, St Helens will compete at the All England Club this month after emerging victorious in the county Road to Wimbledon event.
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon event is the biggest annual recreational junior tournament in British Tennis offering young players aged 11-14 the opportunity to rise through the ranks of their club and county before qualifying for the national finals. 12 year old Oliver & 13 year old Lucy won their respective club events at The Northern in Didsbury & Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan before competing in the county finals at South Ribble Tennis Centre.
Oliver Critchley, a pupil at Manchester Grammar School first picked up a racquet at the ripe old age of 4 and now trains at Heaton Mersey Tennis Club as well as the Northern. Oliver cruised through the regional event winning his final love and love and hopes to set the court alight again at SW19.
‘Oliver has always wanted to play at Wimbledon ever since he watched a young Liam Broady on court 19 when he was competing in the junior event’ explained mum, Julie. ‘He is so excited, when we were at Wimbledon this year all he could take about was the possibility of coming back to play. It will be a fantastic experience and a real motivator to work hard and try and get there to play in the championships one day!’.
Lucy Cunliffe, who attends Byrchall High School in Ashton-In-Makerfield, Wigan has also played tennis since the tender age of 4. Sporty Lucy plays at Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan and is also a volunteer Tennis Leader at the centre. Lucy went into the county finals at South Ribble Tennis Centre as second seed and won all of her matches before beating the top seed 4-2, 4-0 to win the opportunity to represent Lancashire at the Road to Wimbledon finals. ‘She is ecstatic to be given the chance to play at Wimbledon’ said dad, Steven.
‘It is the chance of a lifetime and I am so happy’ said Lucy.
Both Lucy & Oliver will now head to London for a school summer holiday to remember – the national finals take place at Wimbledon from 14-19th August. All finalists will receive a special Wimbledon souvenir, an invitation to the Players Party, a Wimbledon museum voucher, a tour of the grounds and an allowance for accommodation and meals. Wimbledon will play host to over 350 matches during finals week with a singles round robin leading to a knock out draw plus doubles. The latest news about the competition can be found here: www.lta.org.uk/competitions/junior/road-to-wimbledon