British tennis has enjoyed recent success with the ever-growing figure of Andy Murray along with the rest of his British side becoming Davis Cup champions for the first time since 1936.
But now Sunderland has its own rising tennis star.
Jonathan Binding has also enjoyed success on court, including winning his first ever Aegon British tour event, when he comprehensively beat Andrew Atkinson 6-1 6-0 in the final in Hull.
The 22-year-old, from High Barnes, said: “It was great to win my first tour event in Hull. I haven’t been able to get to many British Tour events though because I have been playing for Durham University on a Wednesday, which is also the same day that the British tour events start.”
That event win set the platform for his best career victory to date last week, when he beat Davis Cup winner and former British number two Dan Evans 6-3 6-7 6-3 at the Aegon British Tour Masters in Nottingham.
He said: “It’s definitely the biggest win of my career and the best match I’ve ever played.
“To beat a Davis Cup winner, who has had massive wins on the biggest of stages, the way I did was definitely my biggest and best ever win.”
Playing since the age of nine, and training almost every day, Binding is now part of the currently unbeaten Durham University tennis team.
From the seven games played so far, Durham have won all of their 42 matches so far, with Binding’s record currently 14 wins out of 14.
His performances saw him called up to the Great Britain Universities team as a reserve for their match against France in Rennes last week.
“I was called up as a non-travelling reserve, so I did not get to play. But it was still a great achievement to be called up as a reserve,” Binding said. His achievements don’t end there.
Currently Durham and Cleveland’s top ranked player, and ranked 53rd nationally, Binding led his County team to promotion in Taunton, winning all their matches over the three day event.
“I enjoy playing with the County lads,” Binding said.
“They are a really good set of lads and to win all our matches in Taunton was a great effort.”
The final year Durham student, who trains at Sunderland Tennis Centre, has been coached for many years while at Durham and Sunderland.
And Binding said without them, he would not be where he is today. He added: “Durham have set me up very well with their strength and conditioning and sports psychology programmes.
“Adam Barratclough, Graeme Foreman and the Performance Mind Academy have been really good.
“They have helped us be more professional and helped me mature on court.
“Also, Michael Kelly, who is the Durham University Tennis Club’s strength and conditioning coach, and the overall support from Team Durham the past four years, which has been excellent.
“And I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my parents so far.”