Ross dreaming of Grand Slam glory – but has to beat Mail man first!

Ross Harll (left) shakes hands with Dominic Shaw before they play

Ross Harll (left) shakes hands with Dominic Shaw before they play

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A YOUNG tennis star is one step away from walking out on to the hallowed turf of Wimbledon.

Despite being just 11 years old, Ross Harll has qualified for the regional finals in the under 14 Road To Wimbledon competition.

In his very first year in the age group Ross, a pupil at St Peter’s Elwick CE Primary School, beat off the competition of some older players and will now have the chance to pit his skills against the best in the North-East.

If he manages to qualify from the competition, which is to be held in Sunderland in the first weekend of July, then Ross will get to play on the same courts as Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Venus Willams have done.

But Ross admits that it will be difficult due to the fact he will be lining up against lads three years older.

“I just think it will be a great experience for me,” said Ross, who lives in Elwick Village with mum Helen, 46 dad, Steven, 47, and nine-year old brother Louis.

“I’m excited now, I will give it my best shot, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to get the chance to play at Wimbledon.”

Ross got his first taste of tennis when he was just four years old.

He recalls watching people play tennis through a window at the David Lloyd Gym and Fitness Centre, in Stockton, and immediately asked his mum if he could get involved.

He now practices around 12 hours a week on the David Lloyd courts and at Tennis World, in Middlesbrough.

“It is a lot of practice, but it’s what I enjoy doing,” added Ross.

“My dream is to win Wimbledon or another Grand Slam.

“That would just be brilliant.”

To get in the mood for the competition, young Ross challenged Mail reporter Dominic Shaw to a head-to-head duel at Eldon Grove this week.

And while Dominic managed to edge a close game, he was very impressed with Ross’s talents.

Dominic said: “He was very confident, and you could tell he is very talented.

“He had me running all over the court with some of his serves and I think he will do well in the future.

“If he keeps showing the dedication he has shown so far, I’m sure he will go all the way.”