Holmfirth sisters Chloe and Ellie Chawner are hungrier than ever to see their names in lights after falling just short of booking a spot at a prestigious Wimbledon tournament.
Chloe, 14, and Ellie, 13, have long been known as ones to watch for the future and were at it again on Saturday as they were in action at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon North Regional Qualifier at Ilkley lawn Tennis Club.
The duo were playing for a spot at next month’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club but were both beaten at the quarter-final stage.
But despite falling short of the famous SW19 this time, the Holmfirth High School pupils are adamant we haven’t seen the last of them.
“I have never played on grass before so it is a different surface totally – it was good,” said Chloe, who was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by Amy Griffiths.
“I had an inflamed disc in my back, which kept me out for four and a half months. This is my second tournament back. It is just hard to lose after being out for so long to someone that you used to win against.”
Younger sister Ellie, who lost 6-4, 6-2 to Holly Clark, added: “It would mean a lot to go to Wimbledon next year because lots of great players have played there.
“Hopefully I will come back next year but I don’t know how I will do really – it depends who is in it.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & under Challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA – it has now even expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India with events in Delhi and Mumbai.
It is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.
Fellow Holmfirth youngster Ben Horner was also in the draw at Ilkley and after losing 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 to Chris Jeffery the 14-year-old was encouraged by his performance.
“It would have been great to go to Wimbledon,” said Horner, a member of Thongsbridge Tennis Club. “I did it before when I was about nine or ten and got absolutely slaughtered but it was a real experience and I would like to go there again.
“It was a long match and pretty even but I just lost a bit in the last set. I slacked a bit and you can’t really slack in this kind of tournament. I had to dig deep, give it my best and see what I got.”
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.
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