Butcher smashes county rivals to clinch Wimbledon invite

Aaron Butcher with his Road To Wimbledon trophy following coutny glory
Aaron Butcher with his Road To Wimbledon trophy following coutny glory
Sue Price competing in the Portsmouth Tennis League.  Picture: Neil Marshall (171040-1)

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An ace performance from Aaron Butcher has set him up with an opportunity to play on the famous grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club next month.

The 12-year-old Portsmouth Tennis Academy talent beat a 64-strong field to win the HSBC Road to Wimbledon county final on Sunday.

And that success has earned the Horndean Technology College student a place at the national finals.

The HSBC Road to Wimbledon is the biggest junior tournament in British tennis.

It is a competition that provides an opportunity for clubs to inspire their under-14 players to new heights.

Contenders must be rated between 10.2 and 7.1 in the sport’s ranking system.

Butcher is coached by Oliver Barnes.

And the PTA trainer reckons the victory has given his charge a huge boost in confidence.

Barnes said: ‘It is a massive achievement for Aaron to make the national finals.

‘And it has given him some new-found belief in himself and his game.

‘He has worked hard for this, playing 10 hours a week for almost seven years.

‘He looked so impressive – in what was just his first time on a grass court.’

Butcher’s journey began in the Portsmouth district qualifier last month.

He won that comfortably to qualify for the county event, which was held in Southsea and also included the best players from the Isle of Wight.

In a straight knockout format, number one seed Butcher won four consecutive matches to reach the final.

He then went head to head with Mark Mackie in pursuit of victory.

And after a close-fought battle, he prevailed by two sets to one.

The triumph booked him a spot in the national finals and an impressive winner’s trophy.

Next stop for Butcher is Wimbledon.

All finals competitors receive an invitation to the Players’ Party, a tour of the grounds, souvenirs and accommodation throughout the six-day tournament, from Monday, August 14 to Saturday, August 19.

Barnes added: ‘Aaron’s got a chance at Wimbledon.

‘Everybody will be at a similar level because of the ranking you must have to be involved.

‘If he has a great day again then you never know what he may achieve.

‘It will certainly set him up well for the future.’