Hucknall tennis starlet Freya Christie serves birthday ace

QUEEN OF KOREA -- Freya Christie with her trophies after her success in Korea last week.

QUEEN OF KOREA -- Freya Christie with her trophies after her success in Korea last week.

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Tennis starlet Freya Christie, of Hucknall, has received the perfect birthday present -- a place in the top 100 WORLD rankings.

Freya celebrates her 16th birthday today (Friday) knowing that she is on target to become one of Britain’s leading lady players.

And that would mean many more appearances at Wimbledon, where she made her debut during the summer.

At the time of Wimbledon, Freya was ranked 235th in the International Tennis Federation world rankings for juniors (under-18s).

But now she is as high as 95th after her best performance of the year in the Lee Duk Hee Cup Chuncheon International in Korea last week.

Freya reached the final of the singles, falling only to the number two seed, Shilin Xu, of China, who is ranked 28th in the world.

The Hucknall girl, who is under the guidance of crack coach Mark Taylor at the Nottingham Performance Academy, lost 7-6 6-3.

But on her way to the final, she produced superb performances to knock out the third seed, Sara Tomic, of Australia, 6-2 6-2, and the fifth seed, American Katrie Steffensen, 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Freya also reached the final of the doubles with her Australian partner Lizette Cabrera. Ironically, they beat Steffensen and Tomic in three sets in the quarter-finals before winning another three-setter in the semis. They lost 4-6 2-6 in the final to Aussie duo Kimberly Birrell and Olivia Tjandramulia.

“It was fantastic!” beamed proud single-parent mum Carol Bloomer, with whom Freya lives on Beardall Street in Hucknall.

“She won Grade Four events in Portugal during the summer, but this was a Grade Two.”

Next on the agenda for Freya is a possible trip to the USA next month for a prestigious Grade One event.

And then, providing she can secure the necessary financial/sponsorship package, she is hoping to make her debut at the Australian Open in January.

Flights and accommodation add up to an expensive trip, so anyone willing to help out with sponsorship is asked to contact mum Carol at carolbloomer@hotmail.com

“We already receive assistance from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Mansfield Armchair Club, Sports Aid, Tennis First and Notts County Council,” says Carol. “But if any new sponsors would like to come forward, please get in touch.”

If she makes it to Melbourne, Freya will be hoping for better luck in the draw than at Wimbledon where she was pitted against the number one seed in the First Round of the girls’ singles.

She is still much younger than many of her counterparts. For instance, the only four British girls ranked higher than her are aged 18 or 17.

But experts say her strength on the court is becoming a huge asset and, this week, she competed in a full-blown women’s tournament at Loughborough.

Freya’s next target is to reach the top 20 of the world junior rankings by next September or the top 400 women’s rankings.

It sounds a daunting ask. But she needs to get there to qualify for full LTA funding. And the way she is progressing, don’t bet against it!