Young champ is busy enjoying his tennis
An Exeter schoolboy is harbouring real ambitions to become Britain's next Andy Murray – despite his tender age of seven.
Daniel Mountford won the Flybe Mini Master Finals red section, for ages eight and under, and has attended the LTA's Regional Talent ID day in Swindon.
The St Sidwell's Primary School pupil is coached by Charlotte Wallace at the Exeter Tennis Centre, based at the university. His training also requires a lot of dedication from his family.
His mother, Clare, said: "He has tennis lessons on Monday nights for two hours, fitness training on Tuesday for half an hour, Wednesday morning before school he does an hour-and-a-half training, then an hour on both Thursday and Friday.
"Then at weekends it's tournaments, which will take a couple of hours either on a Saturday or Sunday."
But this is not a pushy tennis family who have hot-housed their son since birth – Daniel's talent was discovered completely by accident.
"My husband picked up a leaflet on the high street for tennis open days at the university and so he took him up there on one of the days. At the end of it they came up to him and said 'your son's got talent and we would like to coach him'," Daniel's mother said.
"I was about four-and-a-half then," Daniel said.
"I don't really remember how I felt at the time when they told me that – I went up there sort of because I wanted to but also because my mum and dad wanted me to because they thought it would be fun. But now I really enjoy it."
Because Daniel is doing so well, the family are travelling further afield – Plymouth, Taunton and Winchester – in order to give him the challenge he needs, as the boys he was playing against have now moved up into a different age group – something which may happen to Daniel a year early in September, as he is already training with the older age group. However, going up a group means moving on to bigger courts.
His mother added: "We don't know the progression from here – we're not a tennis family. We just fell into it and are now following it wherever it leads.
"But there isn't a masterplan. We will just see how it goes – and do it only as long as he is still enjoying it."