Colchester Officers’ Tennis Club coach Leon Jennings says he enjoyed making his Wimbledon debut – despite bowing out at the first hurdle.
The 37-year-old was beaten 6-0, 6-0 in the over-35s men’s singles by last year’s finalist Mark Beim on practice court eight, at the British Veterans’ Grass Court Championships.
Beim, who was the eighth seed for the tournament at the All England Club, had recently represented Great Britain in the over-35s World Championships in Florida, where he reached the doubles final.
Jennings said: “I loved the experience.
“I saw parts of the club that usually only a privileged few get to see and to play on the grass courts of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
“The courts there are amazing and like no other I’ve ever played on.
“My goal was to play well and I did that – I came out with some big shots and had my chances to get on the scoreboard.
“I had eight or nine game points and was 40-0 up on one of his service games after a couple of big returns but he then hit five unreturnable serves.
“He had some nice words to say about my game afterwards.
“I didn’t feel a million miles away from being able to hang in there – I just need more matches like this to start bridging the gap.
“I also came through the match without any pain in my elbow which was a big plus, having struggled with it through the summer.”
Jennings is already planning to return to Wimbledon next year – and has vowed to work on his game in a bid to progress further next time around.
The former Stanway School pupil said: “When I’m not coaching at The Colchester Officers’ Club, I intend to work on my game around the clock in preparation of returning stronger next year.
“And I’ll be hoping for a kinder draw!”
Colchester Officers’ Club’s Anil Mahendra also played at Wimbledon.
He played in the over-45s category where he lost 6-2, 6-4 to Trevor Higgs.