Tennis starlet Freya Christie, of Hucknall, was foiled by the number one seed when enjoying a dream debut at Wimbledon this week.
Jubilant Freya (15) was handed an 11th hour wild card into the world-famous championships.
And although she was unlucky to be drawn against the favourite, Belinda Bencic, in the opening round of the girls’ singles, she gained valuable experience that should stand her in good stead for the future.
Swiss prodigy Bencic (16) is ranked the top under-18 girl in the world after winning the French Open in Paris last month.
She beat Freya 6-1 6-1 on Wimbledon’s Court Seven on Monday afternoon. But watched by mum Carol Bloomer, it was a match she will never forget.
Freya, who is number 239 in the junior world rankings, was far from disgraced against an opponent who has represented Switzerland in the Fed Cup, the women’s premier international team tennis event, and who played Venus Williams in the Luxembourg Open last year. Bencic is also unbeaten this year.
Freya, whose family home is on Beardall Street, Hucknall, was handed her wild card after years of successful progress since she first started playing tennis at the age of five.
She was taken on by the Nottingham Tennis Centre academy when only seven as the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) recognised her potential.
She used to go to Beardall Street Primary School but now studies at the LTA tennis academy in Nottingham after a spell at the Sutton Tennis Academy in Surrey, which British star Andy Murray also attended.
Freya, who has three older brothers, Elliott (24), Niall (22) and Jevaise (21), has played in tournaments all over the world. Earlier this year, she won an AEGON Junior International competition at Nottingham.
She is one of three teenage tennis prospects in the county who receive funding from Notts County Council’s Rising Stars scheme. This year, she was given £400 to help with training, transport and equipment costs.
Freya is also competing in the girls’ doubles at Wimbledon, alongside British teammate Gabriella Taylor (15). But by a remarkable coincidence, they have been drawn again against Bencic, who is partnered by 18-year-old Petra Uberalova as the number two seeds.
FOR THE FULL STORY ON FREYA’S WIMBLEDON DEBUT, DON’T MISS THIS FRIDAY’S PAPER.