Heathfield tennis starlet Daniel Little finished runner-up at the prestigious Aegon British Junior National Championships after losing a hard-fought final 7-6 (4), 6-1 against Enrique Vidal at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The tournament is a showcase for the best British junior talent and the 16-year-old enjoyed a fine run of form on his way to the final which in past years has been contested by Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and former British no.1 Elena Baltacha.
Little had surpassed all expectation to reach the final after heading into the competition unseeded but after beating no.3 seed Alexis Canter in round three he hasn’t looked back to take more scalps on route.
And it looked like another upset could be on the cards when he had Vidal clearly troubled in the first set with his power game but couldn’t quite take the opportunities to break when they presented themselves.
And clearly demoralised by losing the tiebreak, Little was unable to turn the momentum which was fully behind Vidal – who had played a game less this week after receiving a bye in the first round.
But Little admitted he couldn’t be too disappointed after a fairy-tale week and insisted he would be working on his tennis with a renewed vigour.
“It has been a really tough week having to play six games in six days plus a couple of doubles matches,” he said. “But I have thoroughly enjoyed it although I am disappointed to go out on a final set like that.
“I think the extra game may have just weighed a little heavy but Enrique was an excellent player so congratulations to him.
“If you had have offered me a chance to play in the final before the tournament I would have ripped your hand off so I can’t be too upset about it.
“I’ll be heading into a few more tournaments this winter and I’ll go into them with a lot of confidence after this week.”
Tournament director Richard Joyner said: “A massive congratulations goes to Daniel for making it to the final of the Aegon British Junior National Championships.
“He played outstanding tennis all week and showed the talent and the mentality to beat some of the very best British junior players on route to the final which was a major achievement in itself
“While I am sure he is disappointed not to have won, hopefully he will take the confidence gained away from here and continue his development as a tennis player.”