ONE of Great Britain’s brightest young stars is hoping to take another giant step forward to fulfilling her undoubted potential at The All England Club this year.
While her friends will be out celebrating the end of their GCSEs, West Harling’s Pippa Horn will only be making a racket on the practice court as she prepares to cause a stir at Junior Wimbledon.
The 16-year-old, ranked as Great Britiain’s number five junior girl despite having focused more on her exams than her tennis this year, made her Wimbledon debut last year in an agonizingly close two sets tie-break defeat.
Horn, currently ranked outside the top 50 automatic girls entries at 213 in the world, will only find out if she gets a wildcard entry to Junior Wimbledon just a couple of days before the competition starts.
But the Norfolk player is already putting the hours in to ensure she is primed to announce her intentions to become a regular name to look out for as people gear up for the biggest fortnight of grasscourt tennis across the world.
“Last year was such a good experience and I only narrowly lost out in the first round and it was a match I felt I could have won,” Horn told the Free Press of her 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6) first round defeat to American Stephanie Nauta. “I am just looking forward to hopefully, fingers crossed, getting that opportunity again and hopefully getting further than last time.
“From a young age I have gone and watched Wimbledon, including the juniors, and it is something I have wanted to do and to have the opportunity to play there is just amazing.
“There are so many people watching and to be out there is what everyone practices for.”
Horn, who is hoping to make it through qualifying into the main draw for the AEGON Junior International at Roehampton next week, is coached by Louis Cayer, who has previously worked with British number one Andy Murray.
She added: “I will be playing a lot over the summer to try and get my ITF (International Tennis Federation) ranking up. I would like to get into the top 100 which I think is a reasonable target.”
Horn, who attends Queenswood School in Hatfield, became Britain’s youngest under-18 national champion at 14 and has three ITF Junior Circuit victories under her belt, including the grade 3 Sarawak Chief Ministers Cup in Malaysia in October.
The tricky business of fitting tennis around her exams has seen the youngster taking part in three senior events on the Pro Circuit since March, including in Nottingham last week.
And she believes the experiences, all first-round defeats, will stand her in good stead when returning to the junior tour.
“It is a different game to be honest and it has been more about developing my game than winning,” she said.