A YOUNG tennis player from Bridgwater is closing in on stardom after just missing out on a spot at a prestigious UK tournament.
Nirva Patel, 13, was just hours away from a place at the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 & Under Challenge before losing 7-5 6-2 to Hannah Davies in the final round of the South-West regional qualifiers in Gloucestershire.
Despite her disappointing exit, Nirva is still confident she has what it takes to go the distance and make it to one of tennis’ biggest stages.
She said: “I tried my best and I think I did quite well this year.
“Recently it has been really hard because I train at school, and I’ve been in and out for competitions, but I never expected to get to the final, so I can take a lot of positives from that.
“I need to work on my strength for next year and then maybe I can go one step further, but it’s good to know I challenged the top seed.
“Getting to Wimbledon is a big inspiration for me.”
Also in action was 14-year-old Amelia Davies, who, despite a brave performance, lost to Danielle Sebata 7-6 6-1 in the first round.
Amelia said: “The grass courts were difficult because with my game I’m used to getting high up on the balls, but I did OK and I can take some positives out of it.
“My serving has been good and my backhands are getting more consistent.
“Now I want to get as high up the rankings as possible and just keep playing as many matches as I can.
“It’s an inspirational competition and I’d love to play at Wimbledon one day.”
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass court tournament, forming part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.