WHILE hopes of a crowning a British women’s champion at Wimbledon may have been dashed for another year, Thackley ace Serena Nash is hoping to give British tennis something to smile about.
Nash, 16, is currently ranked the country’s best under-16s female tennis player after winning back pole position from Scotland’s Louie McLelland.
The proud ranking has left the Immanuel College pupil quietly confident of glory ahead of next month’s national championships at the same time the school girl will also collect her GCSEs.
But it is of making the grade as a professional tennis player that Nash dreams of and there’s no prizes for guessing who her idol is. With her long dreaded locks and big beaming smile, the comparisons with Serena Williams are obvious, not to mention the name.
Nash says she even plays a similar style of aggressive tennis to the current world number one who is as short as 7-4 with the bookmakers for another Wimbledon win.
And it is of winning at SW19 that Nash also dreams of in the event of that happening it would be a Serena success for Britain and not the USA.
“We do actually play the same type and style of tennis,” Nash told the YEP on comparisons with world number one Serena.
“She’s an aggressive tennis player and I generally am. When my mum’s watching it she says ‘Serena just did this and that’s like you so we are alike in a few ways!”
Another similarity is in being ranked as their country’s number one as a junior with Nash having been introduced to tennis by her uncle Leroy who himself is a coach.
Starting out at tennis camps at Heaton Tennis Club, Bradford-born Nash now trains at Batley Leisure Club and is coached by Calvin Bretton whose protégé is the top ranked LTA player for her age in England. With that ranking comes expectation and pressure but Nash is merely enjoying her status as Britain’s best under-16 – a ranking that will be put to the test in next month’s nationals. It is the same month when Nash will also get her GCSE results.
“It’s either going to be a good month or a bad month isn’t it?!” laughed Nash, whose 29-year-old brother Sinclair is a teacher. “But I’m looking forward to the nationals and my coach thinks I can win it so it’s just how I play tennis on the day.
“I don’t feel like there’s any pressure and the LTA don’t really put pressure on you at this age. The only pressure is the pressure you put on yourself but to be British number one for my age is a good feeling I suppose! It’s taken a while to get there.”
The aim now is for Nash to stay there before she graduates to the 18 and under category in September ahead of her 17th birthday next February. Another decision will be about the teenager’s educational and tennis future and whether that lies in this country or the USA.
“I would like to become a professional tennis player and recently we have been talking a lot about American universities and going on the tour and stuff,” said Nash, who lives at home with mum Janet and dad Jason.
“I would like to do something with tennis but I won’t really have to make a decision whether I go to American university for another year. In the end I’d like to make the top ten in the world but I don’t know!” It could be that another Serena is preparing to burst on to the world stage and Nash has no doubts that her famous namesake will be winning Wimbledon 2014. Nash is longing for British success but sees no immediate Williams downfall.
“I think Serena’s going to win it this year but we do have two up and coming players in Laura Robson and Heather Watson,” said Nash. “Maybe Laura Robson has more of a chance of winning a Grand Slam tournament.”
Maybe another British youngster might instead...