New tennis hope Tara Moore refused to be downbeat after nearly pulling off a memorable Wimbledon shock.
The British number five, who was brought up in Rossington, had two chances to serve for the match against former All England Club finalist Vera Zvonareva but admitted nerves got the better of her when the big moment came.
Wimbledon has had its share of plucky Brits over the years and that is not always worn as a badge of honour. But Moore should be proud of s performance that has certainly marked the 21-year old as a name to follow.
“She has been ranked number two in the world and I’ve pushed her right to the limits,” said Moore, following her 4-6, 7-6, 9-7 first round defeat.
“I was nervous out there but I’m just very grateful for the opportunity. When you get selected for the tournament as a wildcard you like to prove your place and think I did that.
“She made me work for everything but I think I did the same for her. I think she would acknowledge that she has been in a match out there.”
Moore, ranked 250th in the world, now hopes the performance will give her a springboard into the US hard court season, while the £27,000 first round loser’s cheque will come in handy on her Challenger Tour travels, a world away from the pampered privilege enjoyed by the big names like Zvonareva.
“If I can keep fighting and playing like that, I believe the ranking will take care of itself,” she added.
“What I need now is consistency. I need to be able to play like this every day. I just need to keep working hard and I know I can do it. I definitely think next year I’ll come back and my ranking will not be this anymore.”
Moore’s performance would certainly have pleased her mentor Elena Baltacha, it was exactly the sort of tennis she used to play on these lawns. Sometimes she came up short but she never didn’t battle.
Baltacha, who died of liver cancer last month, is a constant presence at these championships with every British player wearing their Rally for Bally wristbands and talking about the gaping void she’s left.
Moore was even sponsored by a mobile phone company to raise money for Baltacha’s charity, every fist pump contributing to the coffers of the cause.
“Everyone remembers Bally’s fighting spirit, she was very close to me and a great mentor to all the players in British tennis,” added Moore.
“She was probably one of the best British players out there and she fought every single match. She fought off the court and on the court and that’s what I aspire to be.
“I want to fight in every single point and every single match and I hope she’d be proud.”
Meanwhile, Moore also went out in the doubles alongside fellow Brit Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-4 against Daniela Hantuchova and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
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