A TALENTED tennis-playing teen has netted himself a game, set and match with a scholarship at a prestigious sports college.
Hartlepool’s Ben Holroyd, 17, hopes to be a Wimbledon champion of the future after landing himself a place at Sutton Tennis Academy, in Surrey, near London.
The former West Park Primary School, and High Tunstall College of Science pupil, caught the tennis bug when he took part in an inter-schools competition when he was just seven years old.
He then joined the Eldon Grove Tennis Club, in Hartlepool, before moving onto Tennis World, in Middlesbrough, to take part in more tournaments and to take lessons.
By the time he was 13, Ben was a member of Virgin Active Health and Rackets Club, in Sunderland, before his dream came true and he won a place at the London-based tennis academy last September.
His proud mum and dad, Angela Holroyd, 43, and Darrin Holroyd, 47, of Beckston Close, Naisberry Park, Hartlepool, said they are delighted for their eldest son.
And although his moving away from home was a wrench, they say they are grateful for the experiences Ben is having while practising the sport he loves and also studying at the academy’s attached private college.
Angela said: “We’re extremely proud of him. To watch him go off and do something like this was frightening but now he’s gone and we can see he’s so happy, it’s just brilliant.
“He’s never wanted to do anything else but play tennis so this is like a bit of a dream come true for him.”
Angela, who is also mum to Ben’s younger brother, William Holroyd, 14, also a tennis hopeful, added: “It’s quite a big deal getting into this academy because there’s nothing like this up here, the North-East doesn’t have the more professional facilities. He’s grown and become such a different person and it’s lovely to see.
“He’s also getting his education which is great because there’s always the risk with sport that he could get injured or not make it, but the academy also makes you realise that there are so many other opportunities to do with sport such as coaching.”
The family are now hoping to get sponsorship to fund Ben’s dream and help pay towards travel costs, clothing and equipment which is broken down on www.tennisoutlaws.com. To inquire about sponsoring him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.