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Josh and Sophie compete at Road to Wimbledon Finals

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Grantham Tennis Club and Gym members and Lincolnshire county players Josh Harris and Sophie Munks competed at the recent Road to Wimbledon Finals held in London's All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

The Road to Wimbledon is an initiative staged by the AELTC to promote junior and grass court tennis in the UK and across the globe.

The Road to Wimbledon's 14U tournament is the UK's largest junior grass-court competition, with almost 9,000 boys and girls from 650 clubs, parks and schools competing to qualify for the National Finals. One-hundred-and-twenty boys and girls are then invited to Wimbledon.

Josh played three matches in the singles event and finished third in a tough round robin group, while the doubles event was a straight knockout draw.

With partner Joseph Harris, of Leicestershire, Josh came through his first match and quarter-final comfortably for the loss of just six games. The semi-final proved trickier after losing the first set, but the boys eventually reached the final with a 4-6, 6-3 [10-7] victory. The final was close but, on the day, their opponents from Lancashire and Cumbria proved slightly stronger and took the title.

Josh said: "It was a once in a lifetime experience, with amazing facilities, especially the grass courts. I felt like a professional all week."

Sophie narrowly missed out on reaching the next stage of the singles, also finishing third in her group, as the top two went through to the main draw. She won one match and lost two, one of which was in a deciding match tie-break.

In the doubles event, Sophie and her partner Florence, of Cambridgeshire, lost to a strong pair who reached the semi-finals.

Sophie said: "My experience at Wimbledon was amazing. Having the opportunity to play on the grass courts of SW19 was a real privilege and something I’ll always remember.

"The Aorangi Pavilion (the players' area) was excellent. I loved having chefs prepare my food just as they had done for the professionals three weeks earlier. We also had access to the player changing rooms which were impressive.

"This was an experience of a lifetime, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take part in it. Thank you to GTC for hosting the club stage."

Josh and Sophie earned their places at the finals after triumphing at both the GTC local finals in June and the Eastgate Club, Lincoln, county finals in July.

l If you are interested in playing tennis, Grantham Tennis Club and Gym is a thriving, friendly club with a strong sense of community. The club is located on Gonerby Road in Grantham. It has excellent facilities, including four indoor courts, a gym, a cafe and bar, Exhale Therapy treatment rooms, and even an art gallery. For more information about any of the above, pop into reception or call 01476 591391.

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