Gabriella Taylor has set her sights on winning the Junior Wimbledon title.
The 16-year old from Southampton, regarded as one of the brightest talents in the world on the girls’ tennis circuit, won her opening singles match at the All England Club this afternoon defeated Katherine Sebov of Canada 7-5 6-1.
Two weeks ago Taylor caused a major stir when, despite being a junior, she beat the former world number 29 Sofia Arvidsson in the qualifying tournament for the ladies’ singles at Wimbledon.
Although she eventually lost in qualifying to Tereza Smitkova who went on to reach the fourth round of the main draw at Wimbledon, Taylor believes the experience she gains from playing against adults has taken her game to new heights.
“If I really keep my focus and stick to the way I can play, I think I’ve got a really good chance of winning the tournament,” Taylor told the Southern Daily Echo after her first round Junior Wimbledon victory.
“The Wimbledon women’s qualifiers was a pretty good experience for me. Managing to beat a former world number 29 and then losing to Smitkova who got to the fourth round of the main draw really boosted my confidence.
"Even though I’m playing Junior Wimbledon now, I’m treating every match as though I’m playing someone on the women’s tour. That keeps me focused and determined to beat whoever I play.”
Taylor found herself 2-4 and 3-5 down against Sebov in the first set but refused to panic and fought back on Wimbledon’s Court 19 to win in straight sets, playing some outstanding tennis during the latter stages.
“I had to change my tactics towards the start because she (Sebov) was winning most of the points, but I stayed calm which was important, got my rhythm and confidence back and played much better in the second set.
"When something’s not going right you need to change things around and have a Plan B or you’re not going to win the match.”
Taylor will now face Tami Grende of Indonesia tomorrow for a place in the third round.
Junior Wimbledon is competed for by the best young players in the world aged 18 and under. Previous girls’ singles winners include Tracy Austin, Martina Hingis and Laura Robson.