The future of tennis in Portsmouth is in safe hands.
Two promising young talents from the region have been selected for the AEGON Future Stars programme run by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
Cameron Clarke and Wilson Neaves will both have their progress tracked by the sport’s governing body during the 2012 campaign.
Clarke, 10, and Neaves, 11, who are both members of David Lloyd Tennis School, caught the eye of scouts in the national talent identification rounds at the LTA’s Roehampton-based National Tennis Centre.
The trial took place over two days with the starlets put through their paces in tests of both their tennis and physical abilities.
Playing against the best juniors in the country, both Cameron and Wilson excelled.
They were able to match their opponents’ skill and net a place on the prestigious programme.
Clarke, who attends Portsmouth Grammar School, is coached by David Ison.
He is ranked in the country’s top 10 at the age group for budding players aged 10 and under.
It is a category he has taken by storm – winning the Pavilion & Avenue Open Tournament in Hove along with two county tournaments. He has also reached the semis of two regional competitions.
But he does not have the monopoly on youth success in the region.
Neaves, a pupil at Northern Junior School, is also enjoying a hot run of form.
He is coached by his brother Ashley Neaves at Priory Tennis – as well as attending squads at the David Lloyd Tennis School.
Neaves was crowned Hampshire champion in the under-10s age group last year – a tremendous achievement that gained him a place at the National Championships.
And with a number of victories over older opponents, he is heading into his new challenges full of confidence.
Clarke’s mother Alison is delighted to see the boys flourishing.
She said: ‘For both the boys to be chosen for the programme is a great achievement – especially as only 30 or 40 children in the country get picked in each age category.
‘We’re trying not to let Cameron get too far ahead of himself, though. He is still young and has a lot to learn.
‘However, getting chosen for the programme is definitely a step in the right direction.
‘Both Cameron and Wilson are very keen to carry on playing a vast amount of tennis.
‘And if they continue to make the steps in the right direction then, who knows, they could form the basis of the British national team.’