While Spain celebrates their third Wimbledon men’s champion, Britain can join the party with their first in 61-years with Henry Searle, who won the Boy’s final with a dominant performance against Russia’s Yaroslav Demin.
I didn't really come into the tournament with too much of an outcome goal. I tried just to beat whoever my opponent was each match and see where that took me. It ended up being pretty special. Henry Searle
And he did it in some style, easing, unseeded, through the field without dropping a set and eliminating his fellow 17-year-old opponent, comfortably 6-4 6-4 to the delight of his strong – and large – supporting group who have styled themselves as ‘Henry’s Barmy Army’ which they proudly displayed on their white T-shirts. An avid Wolves supporter, the club’s manager also sent his and the club’s support prior to the final to the delight of the young Henry.
Britain has had a few youngsters reach the final like Miles Kasiri (2004), Liam Broady (2011) and more recently Jack Draper (2018) but none have won the title since 1962 when Stanley Matthews, son of the legendary footballer, was successful.
Searle looked very much in control from the outset and needed just one break to claim the opening set and repeated that in the second with a huge forehand in the opening game to stamp his authority on the match, keeping full control of it with his powerful serve throughout the 84-minute encounter.
“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,” Searle on winning.
Searle is only the 12th British boy to win a boys’ Grand Slam title and the first since Oliver Golding won the US Open in 2011 as well as being the first Briton to win a junior Wimbledon title since Laura Robson in 2008 and, most impressively, the first boy to lift the trophy in more than half a century.
“There were obviously a few nerves flying about before the match, which is to be expected playing on such a prestigious court at such a prestigious tournament,” the teenager said.
“I let it sink in in the warm-up a little bit, then tried to focus on the match and myself after that.
“I didn’t really come into the tournament with too much of an outcome goal. I tried just to beat whoever my opponent was each match and see where that took me. It ended up being pretty special.”
Demin, by contrast, admitted that nerves were a factor in his loss.
Searle entered the tournament at number 27 in the junior rankings but will leave comfortably inside the top 10 after his best result at a Grand Slam, having previously reached the last eight at the French Open.
In the Girls’ event, Clervie Ngounoue of the US secured the title with an equally dominant performance including not dropping a set in her run to her first grand slam trophy, defeating the Czech Nikola Bartunkova 6-2 6-2 in just 84-minutes.
“It sounds so good [to be a Wimbledon champion]. I’m really excited that this is my first,” said Ngounoue following her win.
“It was a battle out there, as I was expecting one. Nikola is not an easy player at all but I’m really glad that I was able to pull through.
“I’m really glad I was able to adapt. Now I can actually confidently say that I feel like I am well-suited for grass,” said the Washington-born teen, who is equally excited to return to a hard court.
Ngounoue, who celebrates her 17th birthday on Wednesday, will do so knowing she has taken a significant step forward in SW19.
“I was just focused on myself and trying to progress as a tennis player, knowing that this is not the end, that this is only a part of the journey. This is to set me up for more,” she said.
“[For] all of us juniors at these tournaments, these prestigious tournaments are such good opportunities not only for recognition but us personally as tennis players to progress.”
The girls’ doubles final, contested by two unseeded pairs, was won by the Czechs Laura Samsonova and Alena Kovaekova who beat Britain’s Hannah Klugman and Isabelle Lacy 6-4 7-5.
The Boy’s doubles was won by another Czech, Jakun Filip and his Italian partner Gabriele Vulpitta who were unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 against No.6 seeds Arthur Gea of France and Serbia’s Branko Djuric.
In the boys’ under-14 singles there was victory for Mark Ceban, who beat Slovenian Svit Suljic 7-6(5) 6-3 before Britain’s Hollie Smart missed out on the girls’ under-14 title in a 6-3 6-1 defeat by Serb Luna Vujovic.
Later, Hannah Klugman and Isabelle Lacy missed out on the chance to become the first all-British pairing to win the girls’ doubles title at Wimbledon, losing 6-4 7-5 to Czech pair Alena Kovackova and Laura Samsonova.