Wood Green youngster qualifies for Wimbledon

Wood Green's Mayela Bassega

Wood Green's Mayela Bassega - Credit: Archant

Heartlands High School pupil to compete in 14 & Under Challenge

Haringey's Shanice Weekes

Haringey's Shanice Weekes - Credit: Archant

While all eyes will soon be on Sir Andy Murray to see whether he can successfully defend his Wimbledon crown, a tennis star from Wood Green is looking for their own moment in the SW19 spotlight.

World number one Murray will once again spearhead the British charge when this year’s Championships get underway on Monday July 3.

And one person who will be watching on closely will be 13-year-old Mayela Bassega, safe in the knowledge they have already secured their own spot at the world-famous venue.

It comes after the Heartlands High School pupil triumphed at the last weekend’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon South East Regional Qualifier at the AELTC Community Sports Centre.

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She will now play in the National Finals of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club between August 14 and 19, where they will be looking to walk away overall champion of the tournament.

And with Murray aiming to win Wimbledon for the third time and equal fellow Brit Fed Perry’s record, Bassega, who trains at Pavilion Sports Centre, admits she can’t wait for her own chance to step on the famous grass courts.

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“It felt nice to qualify and for me now to go and play at Wimbledon,” she said. “It’s very exciting and pretty cool to be playing there. It was a tough match today, I had to keep my head and I think if I hadn’t done that I would’ve lost.

“I will try and work on my net-game and slices before the big day and getting lower because on grass it skids a lot which makes it tricky.

“I like to play at the baseline a lot. I do like to attack but if I have to defend a lot then I am fine with that too.”

The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under 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 of Wimbledon stars to take their tennis careers from the back garden to Centre Court.

Joining Johnson in action at the weekend was Haringer player Shanice Weekes, who could not emulate her achievement and went out in the second round.

And while her own Wimbledon dream is over for another year, Weekes insists she will be watching this year’s Championships closely, keeping an eye on one favourite player in particular.

“My tennis heroes are the Williams sisters – they worked their way up and did really hard, and they’re still playing well now.

“They serve and hit the ball really hard, I like the way they play aggressively – so I’ll be looking out for how Venus does at Wimbledon.”

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

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