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North Staffs Duo Aim To Surge Up National Rankings

TENNIS by Jackie Thorley

Two rising stars from North Staffordshire are aiming to raise their rankings on the Lawn Tennis Association summer circuit. Eleven-year-olds Adam Twigg and John Thornhill are the top county pair at under-12, but they plan to create an impact in two age groups this season.

Adam, who trains at Basford and Draycott, has spent the past year travelling to tournaments as far afield as Wales, Northamptonshire and Lancashire in a bid to gain ranking points. "I'm in the British top 100 at the moment, but I definitely want to get into the top 50 and I also want to win the Staffordshire County Closed under-12s," said Adam. The Meir Heath youngster attends St Joseph's College in Trent Vale and models his game on world number two Rafael Nadal. "I have a similar attitude on court," said Adam. "I really like the way he hits the ball and, like him, I put a lot of top-spin on my forehand. My dream is to become a professional and act as a role model to other young players."

The Staffs under-18 teams which competed in last month's LTA Winter County Cup only included one player from the north of the county, but that could soon change as a crop of talented North Staffs youngsters progress. Among them is Adam's hitting partner John Thornhill, from Madeley. He has also competed in several Ariel Indoor events, as well as representing Draycott and Basford in National Junior Club League fixtures at under-12 and under-14. The Newcastle-under-Lyme School pupil also competes in tournaments in France each year and an event in the Alps is on his agenda.

"Tennis in France is often seen as a benchmark for British tennis, because they have so many more people playing there," said his dad, Jonathan Thornhill. "And it gives John a chance to see how well he can perform against some talented French players." As part of their summer schedule, John and Adam are expected to be called up to represent Staffs in the inter-county competition. And apart from competing in under-12 matches, they will be targeting some under-14 events to prepare for a step-up to the older age category.

Sentinel, 18 March 2008
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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