FOUR up-and-coming young tennis players from the News Shopper area have been highlighted as some of the brightest talents in the country after they were included on the Aegon FutureStars programme.

They have earned their place on the programme following a successful year on court and will now receive added support from the LTA.

The four youngsters are Alex Juniper, 14, who trains at Bromley Tennis Centre, Sophia Thomas, 16, who trains at Bromley Tennis Centre, Emma Sawkings, nine, who trains at Bexley Lawn Tennis, Squash & Racketball Club, and Katie Swindell, 9, who trains at the Parklangley Club.

Aegon’s FutureStars programme recognises and supports some of the best juniors in the country based on the individual player’s talent ID assessment for youngsters aged 13 and under, and rankings for all other age groups.

The talented youngsters have been included as part of the 2013 intake of players and will be part of a group of 486 top juniors from around the country who all receive varying levels of funding and support from the LTA.

LTA head of men’s and women’s tennis Leon Smith said: “We are committed to identifying and supporting our most talented players and the Aegon FutureStars programme is central to this process for young players who are starting out in the game.

“It’s a long journey for any player hoping to make an impact on the game but we hope with the right support, these players are given the best possible chance of reaching their full potential.”

British number two Heather Watson added: “I hope they use this support to help them achieve their dream of playing at the highest level.”

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