Henman can inspire Horton to tennis triumphs

Ben Horton had a successful week at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon.

As the Sussex winner of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14-and-under national challenge county final, the Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club member travelled to the prestigious venue for the national finals.

With a draw of 64 players, the first stage was played in a round-robin format and the winner of each group went into the main draw of 32.  

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Horton was in great form and won all his matches in the first stage to qualify for the main draw. He beat Andrew Sanders, a strong player from Hampshire, in a close-fought match 6-7, 6-2, 1-0. He beat Tiago Micallef from South Wales 6-0, 6-1 and Gavin McQuarrie from Scotland 6-1, 6-0. 

In the first round of the main draw he played James Ison (Leicestershire) and won convincingly 6-4, 6-2. In the second he faced Freddie McGeehan (Surrey), ranked 20th in the country, and came away with a pleasing victory by 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.

In the quarter-finals Horton played George Hedley, who is ranked number two nationally.

Horton put up a great fight despite a brewing elbow injury which required time out during the match, but he had to admit defeat to Hedley 6-4, 6-2. 

In the doubles Horton teamed up with Logan Burgess-Hayes and they won in the first round on Court 18 – the showcourt where Isner and Mahut battled out the world’s longest-recorded tennis match last year. 

Unfortunately Burgess-Hayes had to pull out afterwards through injury.

Horton and other players were also invited to take part in a coaching clinic with Tim Henman. 

“The clinic was a fantastic experience and I was extremely pleased to have reached the last eight in a national competition,” said Horton.