Beaten Doncaster youngster Alexander Sadeghi still has his heart set on Wimbledon

Alexander Sadeghi: Beaten in the Road to Wimbledon qualifiers
Alexander Sadeghi: Beaten in the Road to Wimbledon qualifiers

He may have missed out on the chance to follow in Sir Andy Murray’s footsteps at Wimbledon this summer but Doncaster star Alexander Sadeghi insists his tennis dreams still burn brightly.

World No 1 Murray will once again spearhead the British charge when this year’s Championships get underway on Monday.

The McAuley Catholic High School pupil had the chance to play at the world-famous venue when he took part in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon North Regional U14 Qualifier at Ilkley Tennis and Squash Centre. The finals will be staged at the All England Club between August 14 and 19.

And, despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts, Sadeghi, who trains at Nottingham Tennis Centre, is adamant we haven’t seen the last of him after losing out to Joel Gibson 6-1 6-1 in the first round.

“I got off to a bit of a slow start. I was making a few unforced errors on my forehand. My backhand was okay, but apart from that there were too many mistakes,” he said.

“I hadn’t played my opponent before but he played quite well. He was consistent. He put in loads of top spin and made no double faults. He was a deserved winner.

“I’m going to keep working on my forehand and improving my serve – I’ve been working on my serve a lot.

“This is my first experience at Road to Wimbledon – I thought it was a good one.

“My long-term goal in tennis is to become a professional or get a scholarship to play at university. Tennis gives me that will, that power and it motivates me. I like getting in that sort of mind set. It would be really special to go to the real Wimbledon one day.”

The Road to Wimbledon challenge forms part of HSBC’s investment in grassroots tennis; an area of the sport the Official Banking Partner of The Championships has been supporting since 2008.

Each year over 10,000 youngsters take part in the series of national tennis tournaments, helping to inspire the next generation to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court.

Sadeghi was not the only South Yorkshire representative with Broomhill’s Zara Man playing in the girls’ competition.

The 12-year-old Tapton Secondary School pupil lost 6-2 6-1 in the first round to Alice Shields but still had a smile on her face.

“I thought I played pretty well. I was hitting quite well and into spaces but my opponent was a lot stronger and I ended up making mistakes,” she said.

“This was the first time I had played her and I think she’s two sets of rankings above me, so I didn’t do too badly. I was happy with how I played.

“This is my first time at Road to Wimbledon. It was a really good experience to play against much stronger players who are much older and stronger so it was good to learn from them. I can only improve by playing them.”

* HSBC is the Official Banking Partner of The Championships and is committed to supporting grassroots tennis, helping to inspire the next generation of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court through the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge. @HSBC_sport