Stepping onto Wimbledon’s grass courts is an experience many tennis players will only get to dream of, but one that Meriden student, Giselle Guillen, has already achieved. Last month, Giselle competed alongside her tennis heroes at Wimbledon’s first ever 14 and Under tournament.
The Year 8 student competed against sixteen of the best young tennis players from around the world. Thriving in the high-pressure situation, she held her own against tough competition to finish second in her pool and sixth place overall.
For Giselle, competing at Wimbledon was an honour and dream come true.
“The atmosphere at Wimbledon was surreal. I had to keep pinching myself that I was playing in such a prestigious event. It was very different to any other tournaments that I have played before. We had chair umpires, linesmen, ball kids and even had our ball replaced after seven games – just like the professionals!” said Giselle.
“It was such an amazing feeling hearing the umpire call my name before matches to introduce me to the crowd. It was overwhelming at first because I had never experienced playing in front of large galleries before. However, I adjusted quickly and focused on channelling the crowd’s energy. I loved when the crowd would politely clap and cheer when either myself or my opponent hit a nice shot during a rally.”
Other highlights of Giselle’s Wimbledon experience included meeting many of her tennis heroes and watching them compete in person, including the 2022 Wimbledon Women’s Singles Finalist, Ons Jabeur.
“We were given special access to the training courts at Wimbledon, where the professional players warm up before their matches. I got to see Nick Kyrgios, Coco Gauff and former players including Martina Hingis, Jelena Janković and Kim Clijsters,” she said.
Giselle spent months preparing for the tournament after winning the Australian Qualifying event held in Albury earlier this year. She trained daily with specialist Meriden tennis coaches who ensured she was well prepared for the demands of competing on Wimbledon’s grass courts which are notoriously harder to play on.
“My coaches designed specific drills and strength exercises to help me adapt to competing on a grass court. They ensured I was comfortable on the surface prior to flying out to London,” said Giselle.
Before competing at Wimbledon, Giselle joined competitors from around the world in a high-intensity training camp in London.
“The camp gave me the opportunity to practise with girls who were my opponents at Wimbledon. We trained for two to three hours each day whilst the coaches would be courtside assisting and giving feedback. I found this really helpful as it gave me an insight into my competitors’ playing styles and strengths,” she said.
At Meriden, Giselle is a member of Meriden’s Tildesley Tennis Squad. This year, she helped win the championship trophy for the thirteenth consecutive year and, in 2021, she was named Tildesley Doubles Champion.
Giselle has her sights set on winning a Grand Slam title one day, a goal that she looks well on her way to achieving. Congratulations, Giselle. The Meriden community is very proud of your efforts, passion and professionalism, both on and off the court.