TENNIS: Francesca courting success across the pond

This Is Wiltshire: Francesca Beg jets out to start a scholarship in America in the New yYear Francesca Beg jets out to start a scholarship in America in the New yYear

WESTBURY teenager Francesca Beg is hoping that she’s on the path to carving out a career as a professional tennis player when she sets off stateside at the turn of the year.

The 17-year-old has earned a full scholarship at Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and will spend four years playing and training full-time for the Augustana Vikings women’s tennis team.

Beg, who has played for Writhlington tennis club in Radstock since the age of nine, left the sixth form Writhlington tennis training programme today and will be jetting out across the pond on New Year’s Eve to start her new life as an American university student.

“The last few months have absolutely flown by and I can’t believe that I’m going to be out there soon – I can’t wait,” said Beg, a former pupil at Matravers School.

“I’ve always played tennis and it’s what I’d love to do for the rest of my life.

“The problem is that in this country, a lot of people say that if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 15, you’ve got no chance.

“In America, it’s a bit different and there are a lot of people that go to college and then don’t start on the pro tour until they’re 22 or 23 – I’d love for that to happen to me.

“There’s a company that called Tennis Smart, which is run by Sarah Borwell (former British doubles number one), and they help sort out your college application.

“That whole process usually takes 18 months but I had to get it all done in about five months, so it was pretty hectic.

“I ended up with 13 offers and Augustana seemed like the best one for me.

“I’ve already video called my coach and found out a bit about what we’re going to be doing.

“In March, they have spring break and we’re going to be going to Puerto Rico for a tournament.

“I can’t believe that I’m going to be doing things like that.”

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