FORMER British number one Tim Henman believes Bromsgrove tennis starlet Joe Morris is one to watch out for in the future.
The 14-year-old had the chance to follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams to appear at the event when he competed in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon.
But he fell at the first hurdle, losing 6-1, 6-0 to Ben Stuchbury in the opening round of the midlands regional qualifier at Billesley Tennis Centre in Birmingham.
Despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts this time around, Henman, who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon on four occasions, has backed Morris to bounce back and possibly make a career in tennis.
“Players are always disappointed when they miss out on qualifying for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Final and a chance to play on the grass courts at Wimbledon,” Henman said.
“Hopefully Joe will be spurred on to greater achievements in his junior career and who knows maybe even to play at The Championships as a professional player in the future.”
Morris, who attends Bromsgrove School, said he was also determined to learn from the experience and to come back stronger.
“It wasn’t my best performance but he was better than me,” Morris said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball cleanly and unfortunately I made too many errors.
“This is my first time in a grade two tournament and the standard is so high – now I know what I need to do to compete with the best, but it was a good experience and I’ll come back better.”
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.