Norfolk youngster Will Davies will look the part as he chases his tennis dream
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014
Dreams of becoming a professional sportsman have been boosted for Norfolk tennis prodigy Will Davies.
The Norwich 15-year-old has competed in events in Turkey, Bulgaria and Moldova this year as he steps up his development, and his efforts have now been rewarded with a sponsorship deal.
Dereham-based sports equipment retailer 4Sports Group have agreed a deal with manufacturer Joma to supply Davies with all his training and match clothing for two years.
'I'm really chuffed, it's like an early Christmas present for me,' Davies said after being presented with his first batch of kit. 'I'm going into a winter training block now and then after Christmas hopefully I'm off to Sweden to compete in an ITF (International Tennis Federation) event out there.
'The aim for me now is just to keep progressing as much as I can and try to be the best I can be.'
It is the latest in a steady stream of good news for the Langley School pupil, which started late last year when he finished in the top 20 of the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship in Florida.
An LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) training camp in Spain, under the watch of former Great Britain number one Greg Rusedski, also helped get him into shape for this year. Competing on the ITF world junior circuit, Davies' biggest success came in the Babolat Cup in Moldova in August, where he reached the singles semi-finals and won the doubles alongside Joe Tyler, beating a Ukrainian duo 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
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He also dominated the Norfolk Junior Closed Champions at Easton Tennis Centre in August, where he regularly trains, winning the 16-and-under singles and the 18U singles, beating Tom Fisher 6-2, 4-6 (10-5) in the final.
He also won the 18U doubles with William Foster and reached the open men's singles and doubles semi-finals. All of which persuaded Gary Cockaday, managing director of 4Sports, to arrange the first individual sponsorship deal his company have ever been involved with.
'We looked at Will's track record, and then made the mistake of meeting him,' joked Cockaday. 'He's a very nice lad and within 30 seconds we knew we wanted to make something happen for him.
'Individual sponsorships are always much harder to get sanctioned because if you do a sporting event where you are supporting hundreds of people taking part, like the FDC (Football Development Centre, in Bowthorpe) Youth Cup, where there are probably 800 kids taking part over a weekend, then individual sponsorships are much harder to come by.'
Davies says his tennis idol is eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi. He may be a long way from achieving that kind of success, but at least now he can start to look the part.
Have you got a youth sport story? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.