'Not just a tennis player': Prodigy turning heads on and off court

Eden Silva, pictured here on and off the tennis court.
Eden Silva says she wants to follow in Serena Williams' footsteps. Image: Instagram/Getty

British tennis newcomer Eden Silva is fast-becoming one of the most in-demand players on the WTA tour.

The 24-year-old has a current world ranking of just 486, but she’s proving to be a sponsor’s dream and has ambitions of emulating her idol Serena Williams.

Silva, who will be in action during the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis event starting Monday in London, says she was approached by a modelling agency during the shutdown of the tennis tours.

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“I’m a big believer that you don’t just identify as a tennis player. It’s important to have other interests,” she told The Sun as her Instagram photos continue to catch the attention of sponsors.

“The agency represents athletes, models and reality TV stars. I thought it was a good thing to pursue.

“It’s not catwalk modelling. But I could be the face of different campaigns. Potential sponsors and advertising.

“I’ve always expressed an interest in fashion and beauty. My main focus is tennis. This will compliment it and distract me in a good way.”

Silva says she’s modelling herself on Serena on and off the court.

“My hero Serena has had tough times but the way she presents herself off court is strong and fiery. I admire her. She is my favourite tennis player,” Silva explained.

“She is a prime example of someone who is purely focused and dedicated on tennis but has other things on the side.

“She is successful in both fashion and tennis. If Serena can do it, why not you?”

Silva reached a career-high ranking of 424 earlier this year, rising from obscurity.

She will team up with Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie and Harriet Dart on the British Bulldogs team for the inaugural Battle of the Sexes event at the Lawn Tennis Association's National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

Eden Silva, pictured here in action at Wimbledon in 2019.
Eden Silva in action at Wimbledon in 2019. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

British tennis stars confirm US Open tilt

Meanwhile, Silva’s compatriots Konta and Andy Murray have confirmed they are both planning to play at the US Open if it goes ahead as planned in New York next month.

The ATP and WTA Tours have been on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Former men's world No.1 Murray, US Open champion in 2012, is to play in the doubles as he steps up his own rehabilitation.

The Scot remains focused on the showpiece hard-court Grand Slam event at Flushing Meadows which is scheduled to start on August 31.

Asked if he was expecting the event to go ahead, Murray replied: “Yeah. As it stands. We have to try and prepare that way, we were saying four or five weeks ago, you know, we were pretty sceptical about it but mentally at some stage you need to start preparing and planning for that.”

Murray, 33, continued in the Metro: “My training this week, for example, during the event next week, I'm planning to try and be there in shape for the US Open.

“If it wasn't happening my schedule for practising, my rehab would all be a bit different. So yeah, mentally I'm planning for it to go ahead.”

British women's No.1 Konta, meanwhile, also indicated she would head to New York.

“To be honest, we haven't had any (WTA player council) meetings for a few weeks now, but everything is pointing in the direction that it is going to go ahead,” the 29-year-old said.

“They have been quite vocal that they are pushing forwards. Just basing my opinion on all the information that is there, I think it probably will.”

with AAP