Road to Wimbledon returns for 17th year
The Road to Wimbledon, The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s junior tournament for 14 & unders, returns for its 17th year with a larger presence in the UK and Asia.
For British youngsters, the Road to Wimbledon Challenge will be held at more than 800 tennis clubs, school and parks around the UK from 17 April-10 June 2018.
The Road to Wimbledon International has also expanded its reach in Asia, with competitions and grass court training sessions across China, Hong Kong SAR, India, and for the first time, in Japan. It will run from 12 March-19 May, ahead of the UK qualifying leg of The Road to Wimbledon International – open to highly rated British youngsters – which runs 23-24 June.
The juniors competing will be playing for the chance to compete at the Road to Wimbledon Finals on the All England Club’s historic grass courts from 12-18 August.
UK: The Road to Wimbledon Challenge starts on 17 April. Over 800 clubs, schools and parks in the UK will be hosting fun, sociable competitions for junior players, which will run until 10 June 2018.
This will be followed by county finals and The Road to Wimbledon International UK tournament, which takes place from 23-24 June 2018.
India: The 2018 Road to Wimbledon International starts in India. This year the tournament will trial a new concept, with a girls’ Masters tournament week starting on 12 March in Kolkata, followed by a boys’ Masters tournament week on 19 March in New Delhi, which will be attended by Indian tennis legend and leading sports commentator Vijay Amritraj on behalf of Rolex, Official Timekeeper of The Championships.
The Road to Wimbledon, which is supported by the Wimbledon Foundation, the charity of the All England Club and The Championships, will also take the opportunity to visit New Delhi-based charity Magic Bus, which equips young people on their journey from childhood to livelihood. In particular, the Wimbledon team will visit Magic Bus’s Livelihood Centre programme, which works with 18-25 year olds to mentor and prepare them for sustainable employment.
China: The Road to Wimbledon proceeds to China for a two-stage tournament. The first competition, a qualifying week, will take place in Beijing starting on 26 March with Chinese tennis star Li Na in attendance on Tuesday 27 March, also on behalf of Rolex.
Players who qualify in Beijing will travel to Nanjing for the Masters tournament in the week of 14 May, where the champions will secure their place in the August international finals at Wimbledon.
Japan: This year, the Road to Wimbledon International will also feature an inaugural tournament in Japan. Hosted at the Saga Tennis Club – which has a longstanding relationship with the AELTC and is the only grass court tennis club in Japan – there will be a Masters tournament for the top 16 boys and girls, held in the week of 23 April, supported by Jaguar, Official Car of The Championships.
Hong Kong: On 7 May, the Road to Wimbledon will visit the harbour city of Hong Kong where British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith will lead a coaching camp ahead of the round-robin tournament.
In Hong Kong, the AELTC will be linking up with the Hong Kong Tennis Association’s community tennis scheme, which takes tennis to schools in disadvantaged communities across Hong Kong.
Developing youth beyond the grass courts
“As the Road to Wimbledon returns to Asia in 2018, we are delighted to bring the grass court tennis experience to junior players and coaches in the region. We are very excited to bring the tournament to Japan for the first time this year, as we grow Wimbledon’s presence in tandem with the growth of tennis in Asia,” said Tournament Director and former Davis Cup Captain Paul Hutchins.
“While the Road to Wimbledon gives some of the best young players around the world the opportunity to play on Wimbledon’s famous grass courts, the tournament is about far more than just tennis. It also fosters life-skills and values such as teamwork and discipline that will maximise the potential of young people for the rest of their lives,” said Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club.