Teenage tennis ace Ali Hassan beat county team-mate Billy Blaydes as Cumbria dominated at the 16-and-Under boys’ Winter National Tour finals.

The rising Lazonby talent, who trains at Chatsworth Tennis Club in Carlisle and at Bolton’s High Performance Centre, faced top-seed Blaydes.

Despite having stayed with Kirkbie Kendal School student Blaydes at the National Tennis Centre, 16-year-old Hassan put respect for his 15-year-old opponent to one side to claim a 6-1, 7-5 victory.

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School student Hassan said: “It was good. I was happy that I managed to win.

“It [the competition] was a very high level. The atmosphere there was intense, as well, with everyone being so competitive.

“The National Tennis Centre is quite unique. It’s so big. The facilities are really good, so it was good to play there.”

Earlier this month, Hassan and Blaydes both played for Cumbria Under-18s boys’ team at a three-day LTA annual County Cup event in Grantham where they helped the side retain their position in Division Four. But they were on opposite ends of the net at Roehampton as they came head-to-head in the final.

While Hassan admits he believes there is “mutual respect” between himself and Blaydes, he says they were both solely focused on matters on the court as soon as the final started last Sunday.

Hassan said: “I was staying with Billy. I was training with him and having breakfast and dinner with him, as well. 

“But I think we have mutual respect for each other. Before we got on court, we were still friends but, as soon as we got on to the court, we were both focused on the match.”

With the summer season set to swing into action next month, Hassan was pleased to return to form after a frustrating 2018 summer.

“Last year, I had an injury that hung around for about three months. That was tough to deal with, especially mentally,” he explained.

“But since September, it’s good to see that I have managed to progress again.”

Hassan collected a winners’ trophy at Wimbledon in 2016 in the doubles alongside Harry Wendelken before getting the chance to meet British multiple Grand Slam semi-finalist Tim Henman at the same event.