AS the British tennis season gets into full swing, two Milton Keynes youngsters are starting to make their presence felt on the local junior scene.
Emily Honor, 11, and Tom Cunild, 12, had a successful half-term break from school by reaching the finals of the Grade 4 LTA Junior tournament at Dallington Tennis Club in Northamptonshire.
Emily breezed through her opening two rounds, but in the semi finals of the 12 and under girls event, she had to show superb character to win a two-hour match with an 11-9 final set tie-break.
In the final she came up against a girl who was rated higher than her and proved to be tough competition. After a slow start, Emily started to play some good tennis but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to secure victory as she lost 6-1, 6-4 in the final.
Tom, who has been training with Tennis Works at Stony Stratford Tennis Club for the past four years, played very well all week with some aggressive tennis seeing him get the better of his opponents.
However, in the final of the 14 and under boys event he came up against a nationally ranked player who had a huge forehand that made the difference, although Tom showed great signs of competitiveness which didn’t reflect in the 6-1, 6-2 loss.
Emily and Tom are coached by John Cavill, director of Tennis for Tennis Works and Stony Stratford Tennis Club. He said the two youngsters can hold their heads high despite losing in their finals.
“It’s been a really great effort from both players,” he said. “I don’t think anyone else thought they would get to the finals.
“There were players perceived as being stronger than them, but they both showed great commitment and character to play aggressive tennis, take their chances and stick to playing a game for the future. For them making their finals was a bonus.”