After the excitement of playing in Wimbledon’s Junior Championships, Roan Jones has much to look forward to – including representing Shropshire in the LTA’s Summer County Cup next week.
Roan, 17, is set to be part of the Shropshire men’s team competing at Havant between July 19 and 23.
He wants to help the county enjoy a successful week after the experience of taking part in the Junior Championships for the first time on the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s famous grass courts.
Roan went into the prestigious tournament in fine form, having recently come through qualifying to reach the last 16 of the 18U nationals at Surbiton, before winning the men’s singles title at the LTA British Tour Frinton event.
His Wimbledon experience saw him handed a tough first round draw against Daniel Rincon, the sixth seed in the boys’ singles, with Roan impressively winning the opening set of a rain-interrupted match.
His Spanish opponent hit back to win the next two sets to progress to the second round – but Roan relished the opportunity to line up alongside the world’s best young tennis players at SW19.
“It was always a goal of mine really to play this tournament,” said Roan, adding he was “very grateful” to the LTA and the All England Club for being given a wild card.
“The match was tough because the guy I was playing is top 10 in the world and had reached a final the week before, so I knew he was going to be a very difficult opponent.
“When I won the first set, it was hard to keep the momentum going, but for sure it was a good experience.”
Roan’s first round match started on Court 12 before being moved to Court 7 following a lengthy delay owing to rain.
Another long break followed after Roan had moved 4-1 in front, with the match finally completed shortly after 9pm, some 10 hours after the first ball had been hit.
Roan, who was watched by his parents and some of his friends, said: “I went into the match with the right intent and when we were on Court 12 I got the first game break.
“When we went to Court 7, I picked it up from the start and got two breaks to go 4-0 up.
“It was special to win the first set, but I was still obviously a bit disappointed that I couldn’t keep it going.
“I felt that he was getting back into the set a little. I know I was 4-0 up and he broke back and got it to 4-3. I did well to hold it out, but I was aware that he was finding his rhythm a lot more, so the next two sets were very difficult.”
Reflecting on the whole Wimbledon experience, Roan added: “It was obviously great to be there and experience more of what the pros get to deal with in their lives. It was very interesting to be treated like a pro for a week.”
He particularly enjoyed playing on Court 12, one of Wimbledon’s Show Courts: “I think personally Court 12 for me felt a lot cooler,” he said. “The stands were bigger, I had challenges, so it was like the full experience.”
It was not the first time Roan had played at Wimbledon as he memorably enjoyed success there in 2018.
As he recalled: “I played the Road to Wimbledon when I was 14 and I actually made the final, so that was a good week.
“I was aware of the Aorangi Pavilion, so I knew the surroundings and where we would be.
“It was a bit different this time as we would be warming up for matches and Novak Djokovic would walk past, so it was surreal.”
Roan is now keen to build on his latest experience as he looks to keep moving in the right direction.
“I’ll look to play more British Tour events and Futures tournaments,” he said. “Then this time next year, I’ll probably be going to a US college to get involved in the system out there.
“I just want to keep improving really, play Futures, get a world ranking in the men’s, and then go to college and see how far I work my way up.
“I saw what Paul Jubb did in the US. He won the singles event out there and I know that it’s a good route to progress.
“I have been playing more junior tournaments, but now, I think, after Wimbledon, I’ll probably leave it there and go for more senior tournaments.”
Born in Hampshire, Roan moved to Shrewsbury with his family at a young age.
His talent for tennis quickly became clear after picking up a racket, with Roan training regularly at The Shrewsbury Club throughout his time as a pupil at Condover Primary School.
Notable tournament success soon came his way with Roan consistently featuring towards the top of the national age group rankings.
After moving to Nottingham with his family, Roan trained at Nottingham Tennis Centre – but he has continued to enjoy representing Shropshire at junior and now senior level, making his debut for the county men’s team at 15.
More recently, he has been based at Hazelwood Tennis Club in Enfield, north London, combining a busy tennis schedule with currently studying for his A-levels.
“We play three or four hours a day and do one or two hours of fitness, so it’s pretty intense,” said Roan. “When you get on court, you feel that you have done what’s necessary to compete.”
Roan is now looking forward to having the chance to wear a Shropshire shirt once again as he prepares for the Summer County Cup.
“I know all the guys in the team really well and a lot of the older guys like Matt Lee and Ed Gibbs support me well,” he added. “I look up to them, especially when we get out there.
“I think I’m playing doubles with Matt this year, so I just look forward to seeing the guys as I don’t get to see them very often. It’s always a good week when we go away for County Cup.”