A HUGELY promising Windermere tennis player has taken a big step towards his aim of a professional career in the sport after being crowned National Boys' 16U Champion.

Billy Blaydes was in top form as he stormed to the title at the Lawn Tennis Association Junior National Championships at Nottingham Tennis Club.

The 15-year-old Kirkbie Kendal School pupil coped with the pressure of being number one seed to win through a testing first round battle against Alex Knox-Jones of Dorset.

In front of a big crowd, he lost the first set 6-2 and faced defeat at 4-5 down in the second set, but dug deep to take the next three games to win that set 7-5 and then held his nerve in a final set tie break to win the tie.

He then battled through to the final where he faced another Dorset player, Luca McManus, who is one year older and at 6ft 4in had a formidable serve, but the Windermere youngster closed out the match 7-5 6-3 to be crowned the 16U National Champion.

The victory earned him the Silver Trophy which has previously been won by the likes of future professionals Mark Petchey, Dan Evans and Paul Jubb, and also earns him a main draw wildcard into the Junior ITF International in Liverpool in November.

"I enjoyed the battle," said Billy after a win which takes him to a UK number 2 ranking for his age group and increases his chances of earning a place at a top US university which would pave the way for that professional career which surely beckons.

And the tournament proved a real family success story as younger brother Freddy came runner-up in the 14U Boys National Doubles Championships with Alex Tikhonov of Yorkshire.

The 13-year-old's effort takes him into the top 10 nationally in his age group.