tennis hot-shot Blu Baker has got off to the perfect start in 2011 with victory in his first regional under-10s tournament.
The nine-year-old star returned victorious from Kings Park Tennis Centre in Northampton having beaten some of the best young players the region has to offer.
An emphatic 4-1, 4-1 victory in the final means Blu will next month compete in the Winter National Tournament in Nottingham, where he will line up against the best juniors in the country.
And proud father Kevin Baker, who is also Blu’s coach, firmly believes his son can make an impression.
‘He will be competing against six others and he’s a year younger than most of them but I’m confident he’ll do very well,’ said Baker snr.
‘At his age it is more about seeing how he is progressing as a player, because he learns through playing.
‘He is a naturally aggressive player on court – a real ball-hitter – which is how we’ve brought him up and taught him to be.’
Blu trains six days a week, often twice a day, and plays at both the Portsmouth Tennis Academy and the Weybridge Tennis Centre in Surrey. It’s a lot of work for someone so young but the potential is there for all to see.
‘We try to keep a balance and let him live a normal life but it is a long journey,’ said his father.
‘He loves his tennis, though, and a lot of credit must go to Ollie Barnes at Portsmouth and Justin Sherring in Weybridge.
‘I’ve run the Portsmouth academy for 18 years and Blu is the best kid I’ve ever worked with.
‘We went to the States last November and he was as good as anybody out there.
‘It’s exciting but who knows what the future holds?’