Millie Skelton: Hull teenager eager to build on her Wimbledon experience
Skelton, 17, and partner Given Roach made a first-round exit in the junior girl’s doubles, going down in two close-fought sets 6-4 7-6 to Israel’s Lucia Peyre and American Mia Slama.
It’s four years since the Hull teenager joined forces with Roach to win the girls double title at Road to Wimbledon, a junior tournament that gives players under the age of 18 the opportunity to compete for a title at the All England Club.
And she insists nothing will beat the experience of playing in front of home crowds.
“The atmosphere of playing at Wimbledon is just so good, the support you feel is just amazing,” she said.
“When you hit a good shot and turn to the crowd and see everyone pumped, that’s special.
“Wimbledon is an inspiration, it’s just a great tournament to play. We so lucky to have this tournament in our country, it makes you want to keep working hard so you can come back year after year.
“Being around all the top pros is so good, you pick up so much from them. It’s not every day you get to warm up around Novak Djokovic and pick up some tips.”
Skelton and Roach won the national under-18 doubles title to earn their wildcard spot at SW19, while she partnered Sophie Marshman to win the LTA’s Christmas Open in Hull last year. She now trains at the LTA’s National Academy in Stirling, under the guidance of coach Tom Loughton.
“Winning together at Wimbledon in 2018 was such a boost for my confidence at the time, I was only 13 and it proved how much I wanted to be a tennis player,” added Skelton.
“We’ve not really played much since then but after we won the nationals we’ve been playing a bit more to gel again. I think we’re a really good team.”
Skelton will now swap SW19’s manicured lawns for representing Yorkshire at the LTA’s County Week in Eastbourne, before switching her focus on a series of junior tournaments in South Africa later this summer.
Alfie Hewett’s pursuit of a maiden Wimbledon wheelchair singles title ended in heartbreak after Shingo Kunieda fought back to edge an epic final in three sets.
The 24-year-old was within touching distance of victory on four occasions but failed to serve out and eventually suffered a 4-6 7-5 7-6 (5) defeat to the Japanese ace who completed the last leg of the Golden Slam.
After three hours and 20 minutes in scorching heat, with temperatures hitting 28 degrees, Hewett lost to suffer double disappointment this weekend after he finished runner-up with Gordon Reid in the wheelchair doubles on Saturday.
“I am obviously gutted and that will sting for a while but it has been an incredible week to get wheelchair tennis on Court One and with plenty of people there,” said Hewett. “I want to say congrats to Shingo and his team, you are one of the greatest wheelchair players of all time and deserve it.”
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