Tennis: Winning Wimbledon spot would be simply Devine

CAPITAL tennis prospect Emma Devine has set her sights on a junior grand slam debut after gaining an immediate boost at the start of the new year.

Devine, 15, will be aiming to build on the qualification wild-card given to her for the AEGON Pro-Series Futures tournament being held in Glasgow this week – her first senior event – and the eventual target will be an appearance in the Wimbledon junior event won by Laura Robson in 2008.

Qualifying yesterday saw Emma push Czech opponent Monika Timova before bowing out 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (3) and two other Edinburgh based contenders, Mhairi Brown and Morven McCulloch, were also edged out.

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Brown went down 3-6, 7-6, 3-6 to Australian Nicole Rottman while McCulloch lost 5-7, 1-6 to fellow Briton Sian Bayliss.

"The junior slams are the sort of level I've now got to be aiming at," said Devine before going on court yesterday and who has returned from a productive spell at an academy in Belgium run by former world No.1 Justine Henin.

"There was a lot to be taken from the experience of living and playing in Belgiu.

"So far as the junior slams are concerned there is plenty of encouragement from seeing what Laura did at the Wimbledon junior event and (fellow Briton) Heather Watson winning the US Open juniors last year. It proves success can be achieved."

After a couple of months out nursing a painful elbow injury last year she returned to reach the final of the Stirling Grand Prix and, along the way, posted a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Dunblane's Katie Gater, the Scottish senior No.2. She also reached the semi-final of a GB grand prix event in Nottingham but surpassed herself by winning Tennis Europe under-16 titles in both singles and doubles.

Emma is now dividing time between the renowned Stirling University tennis centre and Edinburgh.