Dundonian Ben Hudson (14) and Edinburgh’s Lucy Beeston (13) are just two of the Scots who have stepped out on the hallowed grass courts of SW19 this week after securing their places in the Road to Wimbledon National Finals.
The Under-14 tournament is the UK’s largest junior grass court competition with more than 7000 girls and boys from over 750 clubs, parks and schools compete to qualify, meaning Ben and Lucy will be competing against some of the world’s most talented youngsters at the All-England Club.
Ben started playing tennis at just five year’s old and is now sitting at #2 in the UK’s 14-and-under age group. After qualifying at the Scotland County Final, he said: “I am so excited to be headed for Wimbledon next month. I’ve been working so hard to get to the grass courts as it’s something I’ve never had the chance to experience before. It’s also cool that I’ll be playing where Andy Murray was just a few weeks ago – I can’t wait!”
The Hudson family tennis talent doesn’t stop there, with Ben’s sister Amy sitting at #3 in Scotland’s 12-and-under age group. Speaking proudly of the two, Ben’s dad, Barry Hudson, said: “Ben’s drive, natural talent and hard work show more and more each year. As well as attending school every day, Ben factors in the gym some mornings before classes start – he’s incredibly motivated.
“We take the kids to training in Stirling two times a week and drive all around the country for competitions regularly. There’s a lot of travelling but we’re so proud of Ben and Amy and where they’ve got to already. We’re committed and determined as a family and couldn’t do it without the support of Tennis Scotland and the external sponsors that Ben has (Overgate Centre Dundee, Head UK, Angus Alive, Sports Aid Scotland and Tennis Scotland).”
Lucy, who qualified after winning the East of Scotland County Final,will also take part along with 44 County Finals winners and 20 runners-up from across the UK, while players from India, Hong Kong, China and Japan qualified via the International Finals.
“Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of playing at Wimbledon and following in the footsteps of my favourite player, [former world No.1] Simona Halep. I can’t believe I will now be able to make the dream come true already,” she said.
“I’ve just this year moved up to under-14s from under-12s and it has been really exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed the East of Scotland Final and enjoyed testing myself against players in the older age group. I can only get better after playing at Wimbledon and can’t wait to get down and experience Wimbledon for myself as opposed to watching the best players in the world on television.”
This summer, Lucy is also taking part in the Aalborg International Youth Games in Denmark and her mum, Gillian, spoke of her pride as the family prepare to travel to England ahead of the weekend’s action.
“Lucy’s dad and I are incredibly proud of her,” she said. “She has a real passion for the game, and we love watching her play and enjoy herself. She has a focus and determination that is incredible as a parent to see and while I might be biased, she moves beautifully around the court.
“We are delighted that she has won a place to play at Wimbledon and are looking forward to sharing this experience with her and supporting her throughout.”
Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive: “We are over the moon for Lucy and her fellow Scottish junior players heading down to Wimbledon. Competitions like these really showcase the amount of talent we have in Scotland tennis right now. These young players are the future of Scottish tennis talent and it’s incredible to be able to watch them grow as brilliant young players and people. This is a very exciting time for junior tennis talent in Scotland.”
Eight fellow Scots County Finals winners will be joining Ben and Lucy at Wimbledon to compete in the National Finals:
- Scotland qualifiers – Ben Hudson & Jack Deveny
- North of Scotland County Finals, Elgin - Nichloas Bradley & Rosie Woodward
- East of Scotland County Finals, Kirkcaldy - Scott Malcolm (& Lucy Beetson)
- South of Scotland County Finals, Galashiels - Mitchell Feggans & Felicity Walls
- West of Scotland County Finals, Glasgow - Hector Fullone & Sorcha Caves