MALVERN’S Chris Barr-Hamilton and John Clarke did not quite pull off a Carlos Alcaraz triumph on grass, but the men’s doubles pair revelled in playing on Wimbledon’s pristine Aorangi Courts.

Barr-Hamilton, 44, and John Clarke, 32, from Manor Park Sports Club, featured in the national finals at the Play Your Way to Wimbledon event, powered by Vodafone – the largest individual mass-participation tennis competition in the UK.

2023 saw the competition open up to more players, with three disability events split between Visual Impairment, Learning Disability and Wheelchair tennis categories, as well as an Adult Doubles pathway.

And despite the fact the pair did not progress to the latter stages of the tournament last week, Clarke believed the pair did themselves proud in SW19.

He said: "It’s been amazing, it really has. It’s such an honour to be here and it’s such an amazing experience to be here for the first time, playing here with my partner, it’s been awesome."

"We set ourselves no goals as such but it would’ve been really nice to win Wimbledon.

"It’s a great thing to be proud of and hopefully we’ve done ourselves proud."

First launched in 2022, the competition is delivered by Vodafone in partnership with the LTA and The All England Lawn Tennis Club, forming part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to support grassroots tennis in the UK, whilst encouraging more people to pick up a racket.

Alfie Mills, 15, also from Manor Park and Benedict Stanley, 15, featured in the competition as part of the 18U men’s category.

Mills said: "It feels good to be here and the sun has been out so it’s meant we got to play on grass outside.

"There are a few more people here than we usually have watching so it was a good experience.

"I don’t think we expected to get this far so it’s just great to be here which is good enough."

Former British No.1 and Play Your Way to Wimbledon ambassador Laura Robson ran a coaching clinic in the week to support the tournament and its aims of inspiring generations to continue playing tennis.

She said: "It’s just so cool to get the chance to play on these courts at Wimbledon. I still get a buzz every time I walk out there, so I can't imagine how they’re feeling.

"I played Road to Wimbledon when I was much younger and I’m still friends with some of the people that I played against.

"It’s amazing to see how much it’s grown over the years and with the new categories this year it’s bigger and better.

"Growing the game involves letting people enjoy themselves on court and letting themselves have as much fun as possible so they want to come back and do it all over again next year."