Baker on the rise in Florida

Blu Baker in action this season

Blu Baker is soaring up the world rankings as he continues to thrive at the Gomez Tennis Academy in Naples, Florida.

The 16-year-old, from Portsmouth, has racked up three singles titles and a hat-trick of doubles crowns on his way to a career high of 243 in the ITF junior standings.

Blu Baker celebrates a doubles victory this season

Tournament wins in Mexico, Aruba and Guadeloupe have arrived in a tally of 53 victories from 73 matches played across 18 countries.

Having started the season ranked 2,097, it represents an impressive rise for Baker as he accelerates towards his dream of breaking into the senior professional ranks.

And the teenager does so under the expert guidance of Rene Gomez in the American academy where he has been training for almost five years.

Portsmouth Tennis Academy (PTA) head coach Kevin Baker admits it has been a rocky road to reach this point – with his family split between England and America. But he is in no doubt his son is in the right place to realise his ambitions.

‘Blu has a long way to go to reach that level but it is a process of constant development,’ said Baker Snr.

‘He had two very tough years from ages 12 to 14 – where he was only able to compete in a handful of tournaments because of growth issues.

‘But he now stands at 6ft 3in and is starting to fill out and get stronger.

‘My wife lived with Blu in the USA for the first four years but he is now living in the academy’s house. There were some tough times – living with our broken-up family – but it is what needed to happen.

‘Blu first visited the academy when he was 11 and he loved it there from day one.

‘It’s where he wanted to be and I felt he needed to be in this high intensity, highly motivated environment.

‘You have to be a certain mentality, its not for everyone. But if you are serious about playing a high level, the Gomez Tennis Academy will help you achieve your goals.’

Baker’s first singles triumph came in the ITF Junior De Saint-Francois in Guadeloupe in April.

He followed that up with wins in the TIHTA Aruba and the Monterrey San Agustin Junior Cup.

Baker joined forces with Colombian Nicolas Jose Prieto, American Nathan Han and Mexico’s Santiago Hinojosa for doubles wins.

And also competed in semi-finals and quarter-finals in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and El Salvador – as well as the USA.

Baker Snr added: ‘Rene and his team are constantly working to improve Blu – technically, tactically, physically and most of all mentally.

‘The next stage for him is to play in some of the bigger tournaments. Rene is currently looking at 2018 when I think Blu will play a mixture of junior and entry-level men’s tour events.’

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