Who is the British Wimbledon boys’ champion and how good can he be?

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On Sunday afternoon, Henry Searle became the boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon, ending a 61-year wait for a British winner of that tournament.

In beating Russia’s Yaroslav Demin in straight sets to lift the trophy, 17-year-old Searle emulated the 1962 victory of Stanley Matthews Jr, son of the British football great. But how good can Searle be?

His 6-4 6-4 win over the fifth seed on Sunday was an impressive result, achieved through a determined performance, but a junior grand slam title is no guarantee of the same success at the top level. .

Grigor Dimitrov, Denis Shapovalov and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina are among the active men’s players who have been Wimbledon boys’ champions, all of whom have had success in senior careers but never won at All England Club – or any other slam so far.

However, legends like Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg and Stefan Edberg prove that it can be done; the former has a joint record of seven men’s titles at Wimbledon, while Borg won the tournament five times and Swede Edberg did so twice. Pat Cash also lifted the boys’ cup before winning on the professional tour.

Of course, it would take a very bold fan to predict that Searle will match the fame of these icons of the sport, but there is hope that the Wolverhampton native can soon reach the men’s tour and his career to start a professional, having had the last year. has been successful for him.

Last year, Searle won the British National 16 & Under Championship, and reached the semi-finals of the French Open this spring, losing to eventual champion Dino Prizmic. Then, this month, Searle defeated world junior No. 1 Juan Carlos Prado Angelo in the first round at Wimbledon, and did not drop a set en route to the title win

“This makes us go back to the drawing board a little bit,” Searle coach Morgan Phillips said after Sunday’s win. “When you say that, it’s usually not in a positive way, but this is a very unusual ‘back to the drawing board’ situation, because we have to reassess the plan and the strategy for the future.

“Youth tennis is a big platform going into the men’s game, and that’s what I’ve been working on for a number of years now: the transition from youth to men and make them understand the great journey ahead. So, there will definitely be an element of it going into the lower tier of professional tennis, but also there is a new system with the junior ranking. If you get top 10, you get fast track to some Challenger events. That’s a big boost for us too.”

Searle also made a big impact at Wimbledon by handling the stage well, having won the final on Court No. 1.

“It’s amazing to play on Court One with such a special crowd and to be able to get the job done,” he said. “It’s a very special feeling, and it’s not going to come around very often. I’m going to try it and enjoy it. It was amazing in front of this crowd today.”

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