A sporting dream came true for a tennis teenager when he walked out to play on the hallowed courts at Wimbledon.
Dominic West featured in the Junior doubles at the All England Club earlier this month as he continued his long-term ambition to be a professional senior player.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” said West, 18, of Farnsfield, who is studying on a scholarship in the US. “It was great and an inspiration for the future.
“It was different to what I am used to, but in a good way.
“Being around the professional players and being on the main courts at Wimbledon was all pretty cool.
“The number of people watching wasn’t an issue for me as lots of people come out in the States to watch when we play for the uni team.
“But obviously being at Wimbledon was different.”
West, a former pupil at The Minster School, Southwell, and his partner, Hamish Stewart, lost in the first round on court 15 to American pair Alafia Ayeni and Trent Bryde, 6-3, 6-4.
They went out after conceding just one break of serve in each set to the sixth seeds. Bryde is ranked the 13th best junior in the world.
“We played pretty well,” said West, who recently played in two ITF Grade 1 junior tournaments in Germany and another in Poland.
“It made me want to go back again, hopefully in the men’s singles as a senior. That’s the plan.”
The teenager was disappointed not to make the junior singles at Wimbledon after losing in the qualifying round at Roehampton to Australian Thomas Bosancic, 7-6,7-5.
A week earlier West had beaten the same player 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the Nike Junior International, upsetting the form book as Bosancic is ranked 91st in the world, 120 places above the Farnsfield teenager.
West was delighted to be playing at Wimbledon at the same time as his hero, Roger Federer, won a milestone men’s singles. West was also on court while Andy Murray was playing.
“Seeing Murray there was obviously cool, especially with him being British,” said West. “But while growing up Federer was a hero of mine.
“So to see him practising there while I was playing — and for him then to go on and break the record with his eighth Wimbledon win while I was in the same changing room that week — was quite different and memorable.”
West’s proud parents, Michael and Marian, said: “It was a very special proud day to see our son step out on to the Wimbledon courts and see his name on the electronic boards under that of Andy Murray.
“It was an experience and memory for life, which we are sure will only inspire Dominic to return in the near future for the men’s championship.”
West is currently studying in the US at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and hopes to graduate with a degree in 2020.
“Being in America and playing more often has made me stronger, both physically and mentally,” he said.
“Over there I am playing against guys every week who could be three or four years older than me, so I have had to learn to deal with that.
“Playing not just for myself but for the (university) team as well adds a little bit more pressure, which I have enjoyed.”
While in New Mexico, West plays in tournaments for the university team, New Mexico Lobos, on Saturdays and Sundays, from January to May. He spends more time training and taking part in individual tournaments from September to December, which is all fitted around his studies.
The teenager has also been chosen for the All-Mountain West regional side in New Mexico as a doubles player.
In his last year as a junior, West aims to get a men’s senior ranking by playing summer tournaments in Europe while studying in the US over the next three years.
“The main thing for the next three years, though, is uni,” he said. “I love living and studying in America and am looking forward to going back after the summer.
“Once I have finished the scholarship I want to try to go professional and hopefully get back to Wimbledon for the men’s senior championship as a player.”