Thirteen year old Queenswood School pupil and Gosling International High Performance Centre-based wheelchair tennis player Luz Esperanza Merry has put herself on the verge of breaking into the women’s world top 50 after winning her first senior singles title over the weekend at Wrexham Tennis Centre.
Merry dropped a total of just three games in her three-round robin matches at the ITF Futures Series Wrexham Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, beating Lancashire’s Helen Bond 6-1, 6-0 and South Wales duo Debbie Brazier and Laura Swetman 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-0 respectively.
A former talented non-disabled player before contracting an infection in her right hip in late 2011, Merry underwent a series of operations before taking up wheelchair tennis and joining the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme in early 2013.
She made her debut on the senior world rankings last August and started 2014 world ranked 88 before moving inside the world’s top 70 in June after reaching the women’s singles semi-finals at a tournament in Olot, Spain, organised by top Spanish men’s players Tommy Robredo. She then broke into the world’s top 60 last month shortly after reaching her second senior singles final at the Brno Cup in the Czech Republic, where she also partnered Poland’s Lucyna Mietrkiewicz to win the women’s doubles title.
“I am thrilled to have won the Wrexham title. It was my ambition to win an ITF women's singles title before my 14th birthday, so now I’ve achieved this I’m so happy,” said, who turns 14 next week. “It’s given me great confidence and self-belief in my ability and potential to win more tournaments in the near future.”
A busy season to date has seen Merry, who hails from Devon, also play tournaments in the Slovak Republic, Croatia, Belgium and France as she bids to gain more and more experience and build her rankings. A successful summer included partnering fellow Brit Louise Hunt to win the women’s doubles at the Rezidencija Open in Zagreb and together with her Brno title he has now won three senior doubles titles.
“Obviously I’m very proud of my Wrexham title, but also my ITF 3 women's doubles title in Croatia with Louise. I’ve enjoyed playing the higher level tournaments I’ve contest this year, especially the British Open in July, where I reached the mixed doubles final. It's great experience to play the top players and I’m proud of all my performances,” added Merry, who returns to the Sion Indoor in Switzerland at the end of the month after reaching the women’s singles quarter-finals and women’s doubles final at the ITF 3 event last year.
She then has tournaments in France and the Czech Republic scheduled in November and the National Championships in Gloucester in December. Meanwhile, with a current junior world ranking of No. 5, Merry is also targeting her debut in the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters, the world’s top junior wheelchair tennis tournament, in France in January.