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Wimbledon blow for tennis-mad Rothes youngster

By Chris Saunderson

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A YOUNG tennis hopeful has missed out on a dream day out at the Wimbledon men's singles final not once but twice.

Hamish in action.
Hamish in action.

The Coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of July's tournament which dashed the hopes of Hamish Scott (11) who was due to attend the event with his dad Rikki after winning tickets through the Rothes Tennis Club ballot.

However, the Aberlour Primary School youngster still hoped the tickets, which Rikki paid for after Rothes secured them through the Lawn Tennis Association annual ballot, would still be valid for the 2021 tournament and on men's finals day.

But a decision by the LTA to declare all ballot tickets null and void has left the tennis-mad youngster disappointed for a second time.

Rikki (43), visitor centre manager at Aberlour Distillery, said: "Everybody understands why Wimbledon was cancelled but we feel the tickets should have rolled over to next year."

People who secured tickets through a public ballot have been told their briefs are valid for 2021, but tennis clubs like Rothes have been left disappointed.

Rikki, wife Debbie, Hamish and his brother Archie (14) had been planning a holiday to London around the time of the tournament.

"Hamish is really keen on his tennis and has won a few wee tournaments. He met Judy Murray a couple of years ago when she came to the club. He thinks it is very unfair."

Rikki enters the club ballot every year and admits securing men's final tickets was almost a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

Hamish McBain of Highland Tennis and Rothes Tennis Club has also been left disappointed with the decision, with seven club members winning tickets through the ballot.

He said Rothes was one of the few clubs to have already staged its ballot and people were being "cheated" out of a dream trip.

"They do not want sympathy nor a refund, they just want to go to Wimbledon," he told the LTA. "Your actions are making it very uncertain that they will ever go. Of course they can enter next season's ballot but there is no guarantee of succesfully gaining anything.

"There is little chance of Rothes Tennis Club being given a pair of tickets for centre court, on men's singles final day, in 2021 so, you will have ruined the chance for an 11-year-old boy to experience Wimbledon.

"Because there are not many peopIe affected, I cannot see the problem in allowing those who gained tickets to have the option of same day, same court for 2021."

Sarah Pring, LTA team services manager, responded: "I fully appreciate your disappointment and I am so sorry that the decision taken has left you feeling frustrated.

"It was a difficult decision that was known would be disappointing for the few who had been successful thus far in the LTA ballots. Every consideration and approach that could have been taken was explored in depth."

She said the public ballot was run very differently to the LTA ballot.

"In the LTA Ballot, there are tennis clubs, schools, non-club members in the mix and ballots can be run until mid-May typically. It was not these members' fault that the ballot had yet to be completed, thus seeing their opportunity to be drawn removed and evolving factors applying next year potentially altering their chances. I equally appreciate your circumstances and it's certainly not your fault either.

"All feedback that we have received has been shared/escalated and I'm afraid the position has remained unchanged.

"I am truly sorry for the disappointment caused. We are working to refund all ticket-holders within the shortest delay possible. I very much understand that this is not the answer you would hope to receive."

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