Middleton tennis star rises through the Sussex ladies’ ranks

Felpham’s Lisa Phillips has had a very successful winter on the tennis court. The 14-year-old has jumped up the Aegon ladies’ rankings to number nine in Sussex and 327 nationally.

She has jumped 118 places in the national ladies’ rankings since September. Phillips’ success has been based on excellent results in regional grade three tournaments over the autumn and winter.

At Christmas, Phillips played in a tournament at Sutton. She was the youngest involved and the standard of play was high as it attracted foreign players and 17-year-old Brit Laura Deigman, using the tournament to prepare for the junior Australian Open.

Phillips reached the last eight and was drawn against No2 seed Alpha Ambaye of France, who with a rating of 5.1 was considered a lot better than Phillips with a weaker 7.1 rating.

Phillips played with few errors, and pushed Ambaye to a first-set tie-break. Phillips lost 7-6, 6-2 but this was an excellent result.

This year, Phillips is preparing to play singles matches in the ladies Aegon British Tour, a circuit of tournaments designed to compliment the senior international calendar, held at different venues across Britain.

The tournaments give up-and-coming players experience in their quest to turn pro as well as providing additional domestic competitive opportunities to those already competing on the international stage.

So far, Phillips has played only mixed doubles in the Aegon British Tour. Last summer she partnered regular doubles partner Graham Godden, but they lost the final at West Worthing. Phillips is looking forward to the warmer months.

This year she will play regular matches for her club Brighton Parks, who are in division one of the county league, and will continue to train on public courts.

In the summer, Phillips is hoping to represent her school, Felpham Community College, in the Road to Wimbledon tournament, the largest junior lawn tennis event in the UK, which is open to all schools and clubs. The winners of the county finals get to play at Wimbledon. Phillips has played on grass courts only once but they suit her game.