POOLE’S Daniella Britton may not have lifted silverware on the manicured lawns of Wimbledon – but she still enjoyed an unforgettable experience at SW19, by Oli Dickson Jefford

Britton, 11, who attended Bournemouth Collegiate School and lives in Poole, featured in the national finals at the Play Your Way to Wimbledon event.

Thousands of teenagers took part in the qualifying stages this year, leading to county and regional finals in June and July, with the winners progressing to the national finals on Wimbledon’s Aorangi Courts. 

Britton, who described Novak Djokovic as her tennis idol, failed to progress to the latter stages of the tournament – but was still thrilled with her attendance at Wimbledon and revealed it was an experience she will never forget. 

She said: “I can’t put it into words. It was really fun and out of the ordinary. Playing on the grass has been fun as we don’t get to play on the grass that much. 

“My friends and family are really happy as they also got to come to Wimbledon! They’re just really proud of my achievements.” 

The competition looks to inspire the next generation of tennis talent; allowing junior players to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and compete for a chance to play on Wimbledon’s iconic courts.

From 2023, the LTA and The All England Lawn Tennis Club are planning for the competition to expand further, through the introduction of additional age groups and disability categories.

Former British number one Tim Henman was in attendance to cheer on the youngsters at SW19 and offer his experience and advice. 

He said: "My involvement goes way back to when this first started in 2002 and really using Wimbledon as the character to inspire the next generation. 

"Now the partnership with Vodafone means Play Your Way to Wimbledon really speaks about encouraging that next generation and giving them that access and opportunity. 

"It's a game that you can play for life so it's about encouraging more and more people to play tennis at a young age. 

"The standard seems like it gets better and better every year and you think about the competition starting in local areas, thousands of kids participating and then the best ones coming through to Wimbledon. 

"It's a great environment to see the enthusiasm and energy of all the kids and I think it's been a fantastic week and this is a great way to round it up." 

Play Your Way to Wimbledon, Powered by Vodafone, is a junior tournament that gives players an opportunity to follow in their heroes’ footsteps and compete on the grass courts at Wimbledon. The All England Club and LTA are proud to partner with Vodafone to relaunch and expand the largest individual mass participation tennis competition in the UK – for more information visit wimbledon.com