Horn has high hopes

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TENNIS star Pippa Horn is set to fly out to Mexico to represent Great Britain in the Junior Fed Cup – the junior girls’ version of the Davis Cup.

The teenager – who will celebrate her 16th birthday while she is in Central America – helped Britain qualify with a strong showing in last month’s Helvetie Cup in Switzerland.

It will cap a monumental year for the West Harling resident, who appeared in the junior events at Wimbledon for the first time.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Horn. “We had to play a qualifying event in the Czech Republic, then played the European event in the mountains in Switzerland, with the top six going through to the worlds.

“It’s the first time Britain have qualified for it in a few years.”

Not only will the event be a new experience for Horn, it will be the first time she has visited Central America and she believes the thrill of playing with the best under-16s in the world will help her game greatly.

She will play at altitude in the city of San Luis Potos, which is situated approximately 400km north of Mexico City.

“I don’t really have any goals – the experience of taking part is just going to be amazing,” she added. “If we were to go on and win it, that would be even better.”

Despite becoming Britain’s youngest ever junior national champion last year, Horn’s career development was struck by injury.

But she was able to put that behind her to debut at Wimbledon in a first round loss in the girls’ singles to USA’s Stephanie Nauta, 7-6, 7-6.

And now Horn is determined to overcome another non-tennis goal, one much more familiar to 16-year-olds across the country during the Junior Fed Cup from September 27 to October 2.

“This year school-wise is a big year for me with my GCSEs – my aim is to take as little time off school as possible,” she said.

“I’m still going to be training and focusing on improving, but I won’t be playing as many tournaments so I can concentrate on my schoolwork.”