AS the nation looks south towards Wimbledon and the exploits of Andy Murray, another tennis ace is aiming for victory north of the border.
Eden Richardson is currently playing in her first Scottish National Junior Open tournament and will take on Lancashire’s Lauren Guilfoyle in the second round after receiving a bye in the first.
Seeded ninth, the 10-year-old from Little Stanney has high hopes after a season where she has established herself in a group of potential stars.
She has switched from her previous training centre in Bolton to the Wrexham Tennis Academy, where she is coached by recently retired former world top-200 player Matt Smith and she attends an intensive clinic at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton once a term.
Ranked number one in Cheshire for her age, Eden has just helped the county to second place in an inter-counties event in Leeds and is now in Edinburgh hoping to add a national title to her growing collection, which includes the Sutton Coldfield under 12 open and North of England U12 open titles.
“She is doing really well,” said mum Lesley. “It is not easy for her to maintain her performance levels with all the travelling she needs to do, but she copes incredibly well.”
Very few of Eden’s competitions are staged locally as she is competing in nationals and international events.
But a Cheshire businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, does help the Capenhurst Junior School player out with sponsorship, without which her increasing success would be difficult to maintain.
“We work hard to keep Eden’s progress going,” said Lesley. “In the last three weeks we have spent £1,000 so Eden can play in tournaments.
“We have kind help from a sponsor and the LTA provides some funding, but the longer Eden is in a tournament the more expensive it is.
“Next year if she continues like this she will be playing on the continent and the cost will go up. But as long as we can fill the car up and book a hotel – and Eden still wants it – we will be there.”
Eden’s desire to play is still the driving force and her coaches have even advised her parents on how to help her.
After British number one Andy Murray blasted the lack of depth in UK tennis, the LTA is keen not to lose talented players like Eden.
“They tell us not to push too hard and to keep a balance,” said Lesley. “That is why we moved to Wrexham Academy from Bolton. It is not just a great facility, but the travel times mean that after training Eden can still play out with her friends and go to birthday parties and things.
“They were things she had sacrificed, without complaint, but tennis cannot be everything in her life.”