Mini Masters tennis is a smash hit
PLYMPTON youngster Sam Hopper took his first steps towards Wimbledon with an impressive win in a major tennis competition.
Hopper won the green ball title for nine to 10-year-olds at the Flybe Mini Masters' championships at South Devon Tennis Centre, Ivybridge.
Not only that, Hopper gets a master-class with former British female number one Lucie Ahl this weekend.
The event saw 38 promising local tennis stars from Devon and Cornwall aged between six and 10 compete for the summer series.
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Runner-up to Hopper was Will Daniel from Falmouth, who narrowly lost out after a third set tie-break.
The orange ball title for eight to nine-year-olds went to Sebastian Stanbury–Flood from Exeter, with the runner-up Ellyn Calverley from Penzance – the first Cornish girl to reach the final.
The red ball title for under-eights was won by Sammy Whitelegg from Newquay, with the runner-up Benedict Stanbury-Flood – Sebastian's younger brother.
Simon Lilley, director of marketing at Flybe, said "We are delighted to have this opportunity to play a key role in giving the region's budding tennis players the opportunity to further their dreams in becoming a star.
"Both the winter and summer Mini Masters' series have given talented young people throughout Devon and Cornwall the opportunity to experience competitive tennis."
Lilley added: "It's been a real privilege to help raise the profile of junior tennis and the popularity of our Mini Masters' series has resulted in a heartening growth in volume and quality of young players taking up the game."
Georgina Loosemore, LTA tennis development manager, said: "Each season the standard of tennis just gets better and better, and it's a credit to the players and coaches of Devon and Cornwall.
"We hope this sensational summer of sport and British tennis success will encourage even more children to pick up a racquet."
The competition was open to tennis players up to the age of 10 with heats being held across 14 tennis centres and clubs across Devon and Cornwall.