MATHEW James rubbed shoulders with a Wimbledon champion as he was named the Tennis Wales Player of the Year.
The 17-year-old Wrexham Tennis Academy ace was the big winner at the governing body’s star-studded awards bash at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.
And he had further reason to cheer when his honour was served up by Pat Cash, the Australian who famously won the men’s singles title at the All England Club in 1987 after beating then world number one Ivan Lendl.
James is not long back from SW19 having competed in the junior boys events for the second year running.
Although he failed to replicate his achievements of 2007 when he made it through the first round, he was far from disgraced.
The wild card entrant, who has won International Tennis Federation tournaments in Sweden and Scotland, was given the toughest of draws.
James went down 6-4 2-6 2-6 to Polish fourth-seed and this season’s Roland Garros Junior Championships runner-up, Jerzy Janowicz, in the singles and, along with compatriot Matt Short, 7-6 6-2 to American second- seeds Ryan Harrison and Bradley Klahn in the doubles.
James, who trains full-time at Wrexham under coach Dan Sanders, is the second best Under 18s boy in Britain and 96th in the junior world rankings.