Henry Searle became the first British boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon since 1962.
The 17-year-old from Wolverhampton beat fifth seed Yaroslav Demin 6-4 6-4 on Court One to emulate Stanley Matthews, son of the famous footballer, who triumphed 61 years ago.
He is Britain’s first junior champion since Laura Robson won the girls’ event in 2008 and ensured more home success at this year’s tournament after Neal Skupski won the men’s doubles on Saturday.
Henry Searle is the @Wimbledon Boys’ 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐌𝐏𝐈𝐎𝐍 🏆
— LTA (@the_LTA) July 16, 2023
It will be a life-changing experience for Searle but he looks like he has the temperament and the ability to succeed in the men’s game after a brilliant campaign where he did not drop a set, highlighted by him sending down a 134mph during the final.
He never looked back after beating the top seed in the first round and the teenager succeeded where Jack Draper and Liam Broady have failed in recent years by winning the final.
On the prospect of what might be to come, he said on court: “I’ll definitely try and prepare myself for it, I’ll keep working hard and see what happens.”
He added: “It is amazing to play on Court One with such a special crowd and manage to get the job done.
“It’s a pretty special feeling and it is not going to come too often and I am going to try and enjoy it. It was amazing in front of this crowd today.”
He was backed by an army of fans on Court One, all decked out in matching t-shirts, and Searle was not overawed by his surroundings and the prospect of what he could achieve.
An even opening to the first set was punctuated by a small rain delay after which a key passage of play occurred.
Searle’s serve came under pressure for the first time in the match and he did brilliantly to fend off three break points.
The first player from Great Britain to win the Boys’ Singles title at #Wimbledon since 1962!
Henry Searle, a 17-year-old from Wolverhampton who’s added his name to the history books 🙌🏆 pic.twitter.com/AqnFEjRNUC
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 16, 2023
As often is the case, he had the momentum and then broke Demin, a Russian with a powerful forehand, to lead 5-4.
With the pressure on serving for the set at 30-30 Searle fired a 132mph bullet serve that was an ace and then won the set with a booming forehand winner.
Everything was going Searle’s way and a break in the first game of the second set put him in even further control.
He then showed confidence and composure to hold Demin at bay and sealed the title when the Russian went long on his first championship point.
There was another British victory in the boys’ under-14s as Mark Ceban beat Svit Suljic 7-6 (5) 6-3, but Hollie Smart was beaten in the girls’ under-14s, going down 6-3 6-1 to Luna Vujovic.