Harrogate girl, 12, takes first steps on road to emulating Emma Raducanu after making her Wimbledon debut
A Harrogate pupil who first picked up a tennis racquet when she was four years old has taken her first steps on the possible path to tennis success set by US Open-winning Emma Raducanu.
Young Ashville College tennis star Emi Linley, who is not yet a teenager, did incredibly well to make her Wimbledon grass court debut at a recent six-day tournament held at the world-famous club.
Emi, aged 12, was one two players from the Yorkshire region to win an automatic place at the Road to Wimbledon U14 competition - an initiative staged by the All England Lawn Tennis Club to promote both junior and grass court tennis in the UK and across the globe.
It is the UK's largest junior grass court competition, with almost 9,000 girls and boys from 650 clubs, parks and schools competing to qualify for the National Finals.
During the prestigious competition, Emi won her way through to the quarter finals in the doubles, and in the singles, she won one and lost two matches, one of which was a nail-biting 10-8 tie breaker.
Emi said: “This was my first time playing at Wimbledon, and it was a great experience. It felt very special being there and I’m determined to win a place again next year.”
Emi was four years old when she first picked up a tennis racket and since then she is rarely without one in her hand. During term time trains a minimum of 12 hours a week.
She does most of her training at Harrogate’s David Lloyd Centre, in addition to regularly participating in ‘County’ training at the John Charles Centre.
Emi still has a long way to go to be the next Emma Raducanu, the 18-year-old British tennis sensation who won the US Open at the weekend, but she is already showing terrific talent.
Duncan Archer, Ashville’s Head of Sports Development, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Emi, and she should be incredibly proud of reaching the finals of this national tennis tournament.
“Almost 9,000 young players took part in this competition and Emi was one of just 120 who made it through to the finals. She is a fantastic tennis player and regularly beats competitors older than her.
“Whilst this may have been Emi’s Wimbledon debut, I can assure you it won’t be her last.”
For more information about Ashville College, please visit www.ashville.co.uk or call 01423 566358.