Tividale’s 12-year-old tennis prodigy, Elise Dennis is proving such a big hit on the domestic tennis circuit, that she’s setting her sights further afield. Having reached the semi-finals for her age group at Junior Wimbledon this summer, Elise is now preparing to challenge some of Europe’s elite young tennis players, when she competes in Tennis Europe in Bath next month.

Elise, who is the number one ranked tennis player for her age in the West Midlands as is in the top 5 nationally, met Tim Henman on her debut trip to Wimbledon, when she was watched by among others Greg  Rusedski. As Councillor Richard Marshall, Cabinet member for Leisure Services and Chair of the Gifted and Talented grants awards panel says; “Role models are important.  It’s great to hear that some of Britain best players can see the potential Elise has got.

I hope that the example Elise is setting, that a girl from Tividale can compete at an elite level in tennis will turn out to be a role model for other young people in Sandwell.

There is a lot of talent in Sandwell and if our Gifted and Talented programme can help support some of our best athletes then we will have more examples to inspire the next generation.”

Now Elise, whose serve has been timed at 109 mph, will be testing herself against some of the best young tennis players in Europe at the prestigious Tennis Europe event in Bath in September.

Local Sandwell residents who are achieving at an elite level or are on course to in any sport recognised by UK Sport can apply to Sandwell Council’s Gifted and Talented grant programme for small grants of up to £500.  The Gifted and Talented programme has set aside £25,000 for grants to support young atheletes.

Young athletes living in Sandwell can apply for Gifted & Talented grants by going to www.sandwell.gov.uk/giftedandtalented