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Harpenden's Emily Arbuthnott learns valuable lessons from Wimbledon defeat
5:17pm Monday 7th July 2014 in Sport
Harpenden's Emily Arbuthnott insists she learned valuable lessons from her junior Wimbledon debut despite slipping to defeat at the All England Club.
The 16-year old started brightly against tenth seed Shilin Xu racing into an early 3-1 lead before a snapped racquet string broke her concentration, allowing her rival to win five straight matches.
Arbuthnott then struggled with her serve after being kept off court for several hours due to rain delays and went down 6-3, 6-2 in 50 minutes.
"I'm not used to such a big crowd and I made a brilliant start and seemed really confident but after breaking that string everything turned against me," said Arbuthnott.
"It's something I need to learn from because you shouldn't be rattled by something like that, you can't blame your racquet for your errors.
"I played her last year on a hard court and lost pretty heavily, so this shows I'm improving because she's a big step above me in the rankings."
Arbuthnott may have been making her debut at the Championships but she's no stranger to SW19 after winning the prestigious HSBC Road to Wimbledon under-14s title two years ago in both singles and doubles.
Former British number one Tim Henman mentored Arbuthnott as part of that programme and claims progress rather than results should be the key consideration for the teenager at this point in her career.
"The people who do well as juniors don't always progress to seniors," she added. "Juniors is about experiencing what tennis is like, it's a stepping stone, it's not the final hurdle because it's about improvement.
"There are lots of positives from this, apart from the result. Playing at Wimbledon has always been an ambition and it's only increased my determination to keep working hard and get back here again and again."
Arbuthnott will spend much of this summer on the road as she aims to build up her ranking points. She'll play a series of tournaments in Europe before travelling to the USA next month in a bid to qualify for the US Open junior event at Flushing Meadow.
As the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, HSBC is helping fans get closer to Wimbledon by giving them the chance to win a coaching clinic with Tim Henman. For further information, visit www.wimbledon.com/hsbc