Teenage tennis aces show their hand to book prestigious Wimbledon date

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Two of Derbyshire’s top tennis talents will aim to succeed where Andy Murray failed this year after booking their spots at Wimbledon.

Teenagers Christian Mills, 14, from Killamarsh, and Bradley Buckland, 13, from Chesterfield, will compete in the largest junior tournament in the UK at the All England Club.

The Road to Wimbledon competition will take place between August 11 and 16.

Mills further enhanced his reputation as one to watch for the future when he claimed victory at the Midlands regional qualifier at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Mills, a member of Graves Tennis Centre in Sheffield, will now play in the 14 and under challenge.

Murray lost in the quarter-finals at SW19 earlier this month and Birkdale School pupil Mills admits he can’t wait to grace the hallowed Wimbledon turf.

“It’ll be my first time playing down at Wimbledon,” said Mills, who beat Arran Trainor 6-0 6-1 in one of Sunday’s finals.

“I’ve been there to watch so I’m really looking forward to it.I’ve never played on grass before so it’ll be a whole new experience for me, but it’ll be amazing to play where all my heroes have played.

“I’ll just go out there and do my best, play every match as it comes and hopefully I’ll get through a few matches.”

The 14 and under challenge began in 2002 and is an All England Club junior event initiative supported by the LTA - it has now even expanded into Asia with a pilot scheme run in India with events in Delhi and Mumbai.

It is the largest junior tournament in the UK, involving some 850 clubs, parks and schools with youngsters bidding to reach the national final at the All England Club.

Mills will be joined at the All England Club by Chesterfield’s Bradley Buckland, who beat Freddie Davies 7-5 6-1 in another of the day’s finals.

“It’ll be good fun to play on the grass courts that my heroes play on. I played on grass last year at the Road to Wimbledon qualifiers, but I’ve done better this year to get through to the finals,” said Buckland.

“I‘d love to play tennis as a job and travel around to play in tournaments. I’ve got a few national and international tournaments lined up this summer, so I’ve got a busy few weeks.”

Alfreton’s Ellis Corbett, 13, narrowly missed out on booking his spot at Wimbledon. He lost out in the second round to fourth seed Daniel Tarokh 7-5, 6-2.