Exmouth tennis ace Ben, 12, just misses out on chance to play on Wimbledon’s courts

PUBLISHED: 13:55 29 June 2017

Ben Johnson, 12, narrowly misses out on qualifying for national finals at Wimbledon

Ben Johnson, 12, narrowly misses out on qualifying for national finals at Wimbledon


An Exmouth schoolboy insists his sporting dreams are still alive after narrowly missing out on playing in a special event at Wimbledon this summer.

Exmouth Community College pupil Ben Johnson, 12, had the chance to take to the courts of the world-famous venue when he took part at last weekend’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon South West Regional Qualifier in Gloucestershire.

He was playing for a spot at the national finals of the tournament at the All England Club between August 14 and 19.

And, despite falling short of a memorable outing at the famous SW19 courts this time around, Ben, who trains at Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, in Withycombe Village Road, is adamant we have not seen the last of him.

“I picked up a lot of tips and knowledge on how to improve and to make sure I come back a better player next year,” he said.

“My serve in particular was disappointing, but I think with a bit of work it could become my main shot.

“My first-round match was a lot better and I hit the ball a lot flatter, which made a big difference as I was able to get more power into it and move my opponent around the court.

“I thought the grass was great too – I am not usually used to playing on it but I think it suits my game, and my slice was particularly good.”

While his own Wimbledon dream is over for another year, Ben insists he will be watching this year’s championships closely, keeping an eye on one favourite player in particular.

“Rafa Nadal is my favourite player, because he is great to watch and is a winner. I won’t be at Wimbledon sadly, but I will be watching him on the TV and I think he will win it,” he added.

“I started in tennis when I was at a holiday club in Exmouth and they told me I had good hand-eye co-ordination. From then I have played, and I am getting better all the time.

“I would love to play at Wimbledon one day.”

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