Kingston’s Jorge Beltrao admits watching this year’s Wimbledon is made all the more difficult after falling short of playing at SW19 this year, writes Pippa Field.

Beltrao had the chance to follow in Andy Murray’s footsteps as he competed in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon South East Regional Qualifier at West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club.

The 13-year-old was playing for a spot at August’s HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge at the All England Club but lost in the first round to Nathan Fernandes, going down 7-5, 6-1.

It left the Richard Challoner School pupil looking ahead to next year.

“It was a close game. I went 5-1 down in the first set, then I started playing more aggressively and the ball was going in a lot,” said Beltrao, who plays for Westside Tennis Club and Sutton Tennis Academy.

“I got it to 5-5 but then I lacked a bit of concentration and I let the set go 7-5. And then the second set, he was a lot better.

“It does show I can challenge the top players though. I was really annoyed when I got the draw and I was playing the number five seed.

“I know I can beat most of the players in the tournament, but he was a good player.

“I’ll hopefully be a seed next year. I want to qualify for Wimbledon.”

Former British number one Tim Henman believes the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & under Challenge can inspire the next generation of stars.

“Players are always disappointed when they miss out on qualifying for the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Final and a chance to play on the grass courts at Wimbledon,” said Henman.

“Hopefully Jorge will be spurred on to greater achievements in his junior career and who knows maybe even to play at The Championships as a professional player in the future.”

The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge is the UK's largest national junior grass court tournament and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.