NEW MALDEN tennis starlet Melanie South, 16, has been given a wild card entry into the first round of Junior Wimbledon and will play tomorrow or Monday.
She had earned the right to play in the senior Wimbledon qualifying tournament at Roehampton last week.
Unfortunately, she lost in the first of three rounds in the qualifying event at the Bank of England Sports Ground, Roehampton, going down 6-4, 6-4 to Adriana Barna of Germany, who is ranked 224 in the world. Melanie, a pupil at Nonsuch Grammar School, Cheam, sat her first GCSE just before the match.
The previous week Melanie had become one of four to qualify from the 32 who played in the pre-qualifying Wimbledon tournament at Chiswick.
Melanie, the youngest player to enter as she was just 16 in May, beat Mhairi Brown 6-4, 6-1 and triumphed 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 over Karen Paterson, who was seeded sixth and is ranked 709th in the world.
Melanie then played Alice Barnes, whom she had beaten at the ITF $10,000 event at Hatfield, and took the match 7-6, 7-5 after being 6-2 down in the tiebreak.
Already Melanie has a sponsorship deal with Fred Perry for clothing, and is now looking for a deal for rackets and shoes.