Harry Wendelken eyeing a positive 2021 after a couple of tough years
After a tough period, Harry Wendelken is hoping 2021 proves to be the year he gets back on track.
It was in 2018 that the Ridgewell-based player appeared to have the tennis world at his feet.
Aged just 16, he made the semi-finals of the Wimbledon Juniors Men’s Doubles alongside James Story to go with the Boys’ Singles and Doubles Road To Wimbledon titles he won two years earlier.
And having opted to continue his development at the Great to Good Tennis Academy in Sweden, the sky really seemed to be the limit.
However, in 2019 the former Linton Village College student suffered with a number of niggling injuries, while he was also stuck down by glandular fever during the first two-and-a-half months of last year.
Then Covid-19 took hold, forcing tournaments across the globe to be cancelled.
The absence of a lockdown in Sweden meant Wendelken was still able to train, but with no competitive action to prepare for, it was a testing time.
“It’s been very, very tough,” said the 19-year-old.
“I’ve had injuries, illness and then when I recovered, coronavirus happened.
“I only managed to play one tournament last year because nobody could travel.
“Sweden was never locked down and life there was pretty normal. I could train, but there was no tournaments.
“I’m someone that enjoys training, but after a while it started to feel like I was doing all the hard work for nothing.”
Wendelken returned home late last year and he intends to remain there for the time being.
Fortunately, Dukes Meadow in London has been granted elite status and will provide a facility for the Horseheath-raised right-hander to train during the current lockdown.
“I think I got what I wanted from being in Sweden,” he added.
“It was tough, leaving home at 16 and having to be independent, it’s not easy.
“I couldn’t play much while I was out there so it’s hard to know the impact being out there has had, but I learned plenty.
“It just felt like the right time to come home and sort things out.
“My coaches in Sweden and England have given me programmes to do. I’m keeping busy for two or three hours a day and it will be good to get back training in London.”
Wendelken is also optimistic that he will have the chance to play in some competitions as the year progresses.
It has been a long time coming for the former Culford School student, who is desperate to be able to show his quality again.
“I just want to be able to properly, compete at the level I was. In fact, I think I’m a better player now,” he said.
“I want to be out there winning matches and making a name for myself again.
“It’s been tough, but I’m not worried because I know my ability and the level I can play at. I just
want to get the opportunities to show it.”