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Sisters bid for Serena and Venus stardom
5:20pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
TWO talented tennis sisters have won prestigious scholar-ships which could enhance their hopes of one day gracing the centre court at Wimbledon.
Olivia, aged 13, and 11-year-old Alexis Peet from Holcombe Brook are rising stars in the sport and are ranked Lancashire number one and two respectively in their individual age groups.
Now, the “dynamic duo” have secured scholarships to the Queenswood School, near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, begin-ning next month.
The private girls’ boarding school is linked into a high performance tennis centre nearby.
Parents Chris and Heather Peet are delighted and proud that their daughters have been selected, given that top players who have taken part in Wimbledon have attended the school in the past.
The sisters are set to follow in the footsteps of their father who in his younger days was ranked among the top 15 tennis players in the country and was Lancashire county champion six times.
He played fulltime between the ages of 18 and 22 and is now the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) talent and performance manager for the north of England.
To win their scholarships, Olivia and Alexis had to first prove their academic and tennis prowess. “These two things work hand in hand and the timetable will be based around each of these elements,” added Chris. “Their scholarship will be reviewed every two years until they’re 18.”
He revealed that school fees for both will amount to £50,000 a year, and added: “Obviously, we’re not paying the full amount, but a percentage of the overall cost.”
For the past two years, Olivia and Alexis have been honing their skills at the LTA high performance centre at Bolton Arena. Alexis is among the top dozen players in the country for her age group and both she and her sister have been tipped to be among the top 30 tennis players in Great Britain by the time they are 16.
To fund their training and to meet the costs of travelling to tournaments up and down the country, Chris and Heather have made sacrifices.
Chris said: “For the past two years, it’s probably cost us £13,000 annually.
Having one girl is hard enough, but two is even more difficult and obviously we hope we can get a bit of help by way of sponsors.
“As a family, we’ve had to commit to the girls 100 per cent. We obviously have a few holidays but not as many as most families. And we’ve not been able to be particularly lucrative with our spending as we could be.”
On the ambitions of his daughters, Chris went on: “Their goal is to become profes-sionals, but they’ve a lot more steps to take before then.
“They’re still young and it’s a long road to go down. Their aim is to play tennis but to maintain their education as well.”
Olivia and Alexis, who are members of Holcombe Brook Tennis Club, now have their own online page on http://inspireastar.org/ in a bid to each secure sponsorship of £4,200 each.
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