Surbiton’s Alice Klugman admitted lifting a winner’s trophy was the icing on the cake after finally getting to play at SW19 as part of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge Finals.
The 12-year-old Surbiton High School pupil had often walked past the famous All England Club, imagining one day she would get the chance to take centre stage.
And, after booking herself a spot with three group stage wins at the Road to Wimbledon County Finals, she made the most of her chance by beating Natasha Forrest 6-4, 7-5 to win Saturday’s national final.
“I was quite nervous at the end but it was quite a good match. I’m really proud to win, it’s a great achievement for me,” she said.
“I live very near so I always see the grass courts when I come past and I’ve always wanted to play on them one day. This is my first year at the tournament, so it feels really good.
“This is the highlight of my career, it is one of the greatest things I have done.
“I will keep trying and keep doing tournaments and try and improve as much as I can.”
Klugman received her trophy from HSBC Tournament Ambassador Tim Henman, who was more than impressed with the standard on show this year at SW19.
“I’ve been involved for the 12 years of the programme and it’s fantastic to see how the standard has improved,” said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
“There are kids that are going to want to play tournaments and compete at a higher level and this is a great stepping stone.”
l The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass court event - hsbcroadtowimbledon.com