Oli Golding to return to professional tennis

Oli Golding
Oli Golding

Former US Open junior champion Oli Golding is giving professional tennis another shot.

The Londoner quit the sport three years ago aged just 20 and took up coaching.

But Golding, who turns 24 next month, played a tournament in Belarus this week and his agent confirmed to Press Association Sport that he is returning to tennis.

He was one of a generation of hugely promising British juniors but Kyle Edmund, now a top-50 player, is the only one so far to make real inroads while several stepped away from the game. 

Golding followed in Andy Murray's footsteps by winning the US Open junior title in 2011 having reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon the year before.

He won five titles on the Futures Tour, the lowest tier of professional tennis, and reached a career-high ranking of 327 in April 2014.

But Golding, a former child actor, became increasingly disillusioned with the tennis lifestyle and changes at the Lawn Tennis Association.

Under chief executive Michael Downey, high performance funding was slashed and the National Tennis Centre, where Golding trained, was no longer used as an elite base.

Downey left his position earlier this summer to return to his previous role as head of Tennis Canada, with his successor Scott Lloyd due to pick up the reins in January.

Golding told the Daily Telegraph in 2014: "My head wasn't in it at the end, for the last couple of months.

"It was funny because I was playing some of my best tennis but at the same time I felt I was going through the motions. Taking a break was the best option, because nothing was going to happen while I felt like that.

"There are too many other people out there who are feeling fresh and enjoying it and, when the score's 5-5 in the third set, nine times out of 10 they find a way to win."

Prior to this week, Golding had not played a singles tournament since a second-round loss at a Futures event in Astana in July 2014.

With no ranking, he will have to start again from the very bottom but he can take hope from his first outing.

Golding, who has a baby son, came through two qualifying matches in Minsk before losing 6-0 3-6 6-3 to France's Leny Mitjana.

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