Express & Star

Interview: Wolverhampton Wimbledon star Henry Searle says Wolves fans friends and family are spurring him on

Henry Searle says his fired-up friends and family are turning Wimbledon into a football-resembling fortress.


The Wolverhampton star, 17, soared into the junior semi-finals as another stunning triumph over eighth seed Joao Fonseca extended his red-hot surge.

In a nip-and-tuck, closely-contested encounter, Searle grabbed a crucial break at 4-3 up in the second set to serve out for the match and cap a 7-6(3) 6-3 triumph.

Searle has his mum, brother and 15 friends down in SW19 to support him and was relentlessly roared on throughout the gripping Court 3 encounter.

All of them are ‘avid’ Wolves fans and Searle, a talented a footballer himself before turning his attention to tennis aged 11, believes channelling that vocal support can help him banish six decades of British junior hurt and become the first home boys’ champion since 1962.

The Black Country player, who faces fourth seed Cooper Williams in the semi-finals on Friday, said: “It’s great knowing I have so much support from my family and friends.

“It’s pretty amazing – I don’t think there’s many other family and friends who have that sort of environment.

“It’s definitely pushed me through today against a very difficult opponent.

“They’re all avid Wolves supporters so they’re used to creating a good crowd!

“I don’t think that’s intentional – but they enjoy it.

“I’m extremely pleased – it was a really cool experienced being on Court 3 against a very good opponent.

“I managed to scrape trough, take my time to serve for the match and executed it well.”

Searle, currently ranked world No.1033, had stunned No.1 seed Juan Carlos Prado Angelo in his first round match at the weekend before successfully navigating his way to the quarter-finals.

And he battled through a tight last eight tussle to dump samba star Fonseca out and claim another significant scalp.

Both players continued to hold their serve throughout the first set as it ended six games apiece and went to an all-important tie-break.

And Searle delivered a dazzling display when the pressure was on to motor into a 6-0 lead and clinch it 7-3 for a set lead.

It was a similar story in the second set as both players held serve and a second tie-break beckoned.

But Searle, visibly fired up and roared on by the raucous travelling fans on Court 3, crucially broke the Brazilian in the eighth game to serve for the match and book his place in the last four.

British star Laura Robson won the girls’ singles at Wimbledon back in 2008 but there has not been a boys’ winner for over six decades.

But Searle is now just two games away from emulating Stanley Matthews – son of England football legend Stanley senior – in 1962 and following in the footsteps of Roger Federer in being crowned junior champion at Wimbledon.

Asked about Matthews, Searle added: “I don’t really know too much about him!

“I’m just focusing on the match tomorrow and not looking too far ahead.

“I’ve been working hard over the last few years and it’s really coming together this year.

“It’s a dream for me winning at Wimbledon and to have a few wins this week is amazing.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website.