Our Academy Junior Erin recently graced the courts at Wimbledon, getting through to the second round with her doubles partner Sonay.
Erin started in the The West Hants Club's Wildcards Programme (linked to local primary schools) as a young girl and soon graduated to our prestigious Academy which has seen many Juniors achieve great success and accolades. Erin follows in the footsteps of other Academy Alumni who have played at Wimbledon and represented Great Britain. Here's what she had to say about the experience...
How are you feeling post Wimbledon? Was the experience what you expected or were there some surprises?
Getting the opportunity to play at Wimbledon was incredible and I felt like considering the circumstances and with my knee injury, I played really well and felt good so coming back from Wimbledon I feel quite positive and definitely more motivated so that I can continue to improve and play again next year. Going into Wimbledon I knew what an amazing tournament it is but I did underestimate just how much I’d enjoy the whole atmosphere, especially with the extra support we’d get from the public because we’re British
Where were you when you found out you were in the draw?
I was just at home, I knew the draw was going to come out around 2pm on Saturday so just kept checking to see if it was out and then eventually we saw it was and so had to get all sorted and organised for going up to Wimbledon on Sunday.
How did you and Sonay end up as doubles partner?
It was just over a week before the start of doubles at Wimbledon and I had only just decided my knee would be ok to play, so I sent Sonay a quick message over Snapchat asking if she was free and wanted to play and thankfully she was, so it was a simple as that.
Your coach, Rich Irwin, told me you were on practice courts with Nadal, Djoko, and Fed – did you have any starstruck moments?
The most starstruck moment would have to have been on the middle Sunday where there was no play so all the pros were out at the practice courts hitting, so we watched Federer, Djokovic and Nadal all practicing at the same time next to each other which is pretty cool as you’d never really get to see that in most situations.
Nadal’s rituals are well documented. Do you have any pre-match or on court routines?
I generally don’t have many pre-match rituals or routines before I play, except for warming-up and checking everything is ready. Although at Wimbledon I did adopt an addition to my routine thanks to having to go to the physio before I played each match, to make sure that my knee was well strapped up and ok to then go and play on. In terms of on-court routines, I don’t have many although I do like to make sure I’m always sitting on the left-hand chair with my partner and then whilst playing we would always speak between points about what we’re going to do and then fist bump before getting ready to play.
You first came to West Hants as a four year old. What’s your earliest memory of being at the Club?
My earliest memory is probably from when I had just started doing tennis once a week at West Hants with my primary school, Talbot House, and I remember playing the game Bombs Away for the first time and just sprinting across the court jumping and avoiding the sponge balls heading towards me.
What are your highlights of being in the Academy?
Obviously playing at Wimbledon has to be the biggest achievement for me since joining the academy, but I think my biggest highlight is just seeing and looking back at how far I’ve come since joining and playing low county and regional standard tournaments to progressing to where I am now and getting to play at huge tournaments like Wimbledon and travelling around the world competing internationally.
When you’re not on court, how do you spend your time?
A lot of the time when I’m off court and don’t have work to do, I do just like to not do much and relax as there’s often so little free time that when we do get a bit it’s nice to take the day off and watch some Netflix. Although when I do go out I don’t mind a bit of shopping, with the odd trip to a nearby Sprinkles being a definite favourite.
Do you have advice for younger players?
My advice would be to just always do what you think is best for your progress and get into good habits like going and warming up early, when you’re younger as these will make a big difference when you get older.
Now you’ve got your first Wimbledon ticked off your list, what’s your next goal?
I’d say the next big goal I have is to sign to university and find the right one for me. I’ll be visiting a few universities in September which I will then choose the one I feel best for me and then hopefully sign in November!
Click here to read more about our successful Academy Juniors!