Around this time of year many British sports fans turn to the majestic lawns of SW19 and the hope that a home-grown talent will finally bring home that Wimbledon singles title we have all been dreaming of for so long.
You’ll forgive a poor cynical Brit a sense of pessimism though – enough tears have been shed on ‘Henman Hill’ and ‘Murray Mount’ these last ten years to more than justify that – but perhaps the future of British tennis doesn’t rest solely on the (admittedly) broad shoulders of Andy Murray.
Maybe, just maybe there are other reasons to be optimistic about the future of tennis in this country.
Last year, at the tender age of 16, Stockport’s own Liam Broady and his partner Tom Farquharson beat Lewis Burton and George Morgan to win an all-British boys' doubles final on Court One.
Referring to the win Liam said: “It was the biggest achievement of my junior career to date, the moment we won the match I felt a huge wave of euphoria and relief, it was unbelievable!
“I felt as though I'd managed to give something back to all my family and friends who have helped me.
“It’s still a great source of pride and also a real motivation to try and get that winning feeling in as many tournaments as possible.”
VICTORY:Liam and Tom celebrate doubles glory
Last week Liam took his first steps into the adult tournament at Wimbledon and surprised a lot of people when he came out on top of a marathon first round qualifier against Italy's Alessio di Maura, a player ranked 582 places above him.
He said: “It was tough, he’s by far the highest-ranked person I have beaten, but I finally took my chance.”
Sadly, he lost on the very next day to Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut, ranked 175, lamenting on twitter that he had needed to play at around nine out of ten of his ability and had only managed a five or a six.
In reality, Liam’s Wimbledon this year has only just begun as he is also entered in both junior tournaments and while he will be without last year’s partner Tom Farquharson, now too old to play in the junior tournaments, Liam will be hoping to repeat his success of a year ago.
“I will be going back this year hopefully fit and feeling strong to try and defend our title and also to try to do well in the junior singles event.”
Liam, from Heaton Chapel in Stockport, spent a lot of his early career playing at Didsbury’s The Northern competing in the 12 and under and 14 and under National Junior Club Leagues, the North East Cheshire League, the National Club League, playing for both The Northern’s A and B teams, gaining a lot of valuable experience and match practice.
“The Northern has played a big part in my tennis career, it's a great place to play with a good vibe and fantastic courts both indoor and outdoor on the clay or grass.
“The grass courts are among the best in the UK thanks to the work of Head Groundsman Des Ruschwaldy and his team.
“My memories are of the team spirit surrounding all the players in wanting to do well for The Northern and the friendly atmosphere in which the matches were played.”
MAGIC MOMENT: Tom and Liam realise they have clinched victory
Liam is managed and financed in his career by his father Simon.
Liam said: “Obviously the support I've received from my family has been amazing.
“They are still heavily involved and in fact the team has grown - since the beginning of the year I’ve been working and travelling with my new coach Mark Hilton.
“He keeps me on my toes and is still a fantastic player. It really motivates me to have a ‘team’ feeling in what is actually a very individual game.”
Perhaps Liam can take further motivation after his performance at this years adult tournament from the lines of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem If which appears above the players entrance to Wimbledon’s centre court:
‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same’.