Road to Wimbledon Hong Kong

 

Ethan Leung, Max Kwok, Candy Wai, and Chloris Li will be competing on the famous grasscourts at the All England Club during the Road to Wimbledon Finals from August 12-18. Also in town for this year's Road to Wimbledon festivities are Rolex Ambassador, Vijay Amritraj; British Davis Cup winning Captain, Leon Smith; and AELTC Head Coach, Dan Bloxham.

 

Vijay Amritraj said, "The collaboration between the Road to Wimbledon and Rolex offers Hong Kong junior players an international platform to sharpen their tennis skills, while kids from disadvantaged communities in Hong Kong will have the opportunity to experience tennis for themselves through the community tennis scheme. It is wonderful to see tennis having such a positive impact on young people at all levels."

 

"For our juniors to be a part of the Road to Wimbledon Finals can only expand their horizons and give them the confidence to compete internationally in the future. I am hopeful that our juniors can take this valuable experience home with them and use it as a stimulus to excel in their games," said HKTA President, Philip Mok.


"I want to thank Rolex and the All England Club for bringing Vijay, Leon, and Dan to Hong Kong. We really appreciate what they are doing for tennis development, not just for us, but also for Asia as a whole. Their presence will most certainly help raise the profile of tennis in Hong Kong," he added.

 

In 1980, Vijay was ranked as high as No. 16 in singles and No. 23 in doubles on the ATP Tour. He held the distinction of being the highest-ranked player from Asia until Paradorn Srichaphan reached No. 9 in the world in 2003.  In his career, Vijay won sixteen ATP singles and twenty-three doubles titles.  He also boasts having wins over Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe(2), Jimmy Connors(5), Stan Smith(5), Rod Laver(2), and John Newcombe, to name a few.  He played 32 Davis Cup ties for India amassing a 27-18 in singles and 18-10 in doubles record in seventeen years.  In addition, Vijay is a recipient of the ITF Davis Cup Commitment Award.

 

Vijay is no stranger to Hong Kong, of course, as he won the 1973 Hong Kong National Hardcourt Championships held at Victoria Park. The tournament was sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and Rothmans of Pall Mall and offered a total prize purse worth HK$60,000. The top seed for the field was John Newcombe, who won the Australian and US Opens that year and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the world.

 

Leon Smith had been Captain of the British Davis Cup team since 2010, but in 2015, with Jamie and Andy Murray in the lineup, Great Britain defeated USA, France, Australia, and then Belgium in the final to capture the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 when Fred Perry won the deciding 5th rubber to clinch a 3-2 victory over Australia.

 

Although the weather in Hong Kong was less than ideal during the week of April 7, that did not stop the Road to Wimbledon trio from visiting local primary schools, as well as kids at Kowloon Cricket Club and Hong Kong Cricket Club, where they conducted fun, interactive clinics and took the time to explain to the students the importance of discipline, team work, good behaviour, and the virtues of being a smart and alert listener to coaches and teachers.

 

Dan and Leon also hosted a number of workshops for local coaches and took the time to share with them their experience and knowledge they have accumulated over the years. The turnout was fantastic and judging by the coaches' enthusiastic participation, these workshops are proving to be well-received once again.

 

The RTW team also conducted a ballpersons' clinics for youngsters from the Jockey Club Tennis Rocks, one of HKTA's flagship community programmes with the goal of popularizing the sport in Hong Kong.

 

Vijay, Leon, and Dan Bloxham also found time to take tennis on location across Hong Kong to several iconic landmarks, such as the cross-harbour ferry, waterfront promenade, artisan museum, and the world-famous Stone Slabs Street in Central.

 

 

RTW 14 & Under Challenge

 

Top sixteen locally ranked 14& Under boys were divided into four groups with the top 2 players from each group advancing to the quarterfinal knockout stage. The pair of finalists will qualify for the Road to Wimbledon Finals. Format of play is the same for the girls' section.

 

In the boys' semifinals, top seed Ethan Leung, a WJT boys' representative this year, defeated No. 4 Rajpal Malhar when his opponent had to retire while trailing, 6-0, 1-0, to claim one of the available spots. Meanwhile, third seed Max Kwok lost the opening set to No. 2 Maxwell Heward, a member of this year's Hong Kong WJT team, before mounting a comeback to win, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, to grab the remaining spot.

 

Max then went on to defeat Ethan, 5-3, 5-3, in the final.

 

In the girls' semifinals, top seed Candy Wai, a member of the 2018 Hong Kong WJT girls' team, overcame Erica Hagi, 6-3, 7-5, to secure her spot, while No. 2 seed Chloris Li, also a WJT representative this year, beat Hannah Shen, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the final.

 

Candy then beat Chloris, in a topsy-turvy, roller-coaster final, 4-1, 0-4, 4-0.

 

This year, seven venues across England and Scotland are staging regional qualifying events, while India, China, Hong Kong, and Japan are also hosting overseas qualification events with players invited to the Road to Wimbledon Finals.

 

At the RTW Finals last year, Tim Gauntlett and Coleman Wong reached the boys' singles semis and quarters respectively, while Kelly Leung advanced to the girls' singles quarterfinals before she teamed up with Sheena Masuda Karrasch to win the girls' doubles.

 

To conclude, a well-deserved congratulation to Ethan Leung, Max Kwok, Candy Wai, and Chloris Li, who will be competing on the famous grasscourts at the All England Club during the Road to Wimbledon Finals from Aug 12-18.  Moreover, thank you to Rolex and AELTC for bringing Vijay Amritraj, Leon Smith, and Dan Bloxham to Hong Kong and allowing them to spend time with our juniors and local coaches and imparting some of their experience and knowledge to them.  Come back again soon!

 

For more updates on this year's Road to Wimbledon, please visit www.roadtowimbledon.com.

 

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