Tara Moore Is Poised for a Break Through Year in 2012
The likes of Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha have both become solid top 100 players on the WTA Tour, even moving into the worlds top 50 in the last few years. The competitiveness of these girls has helped the junior British girls start to make an impact. Up-and-coming teens such as Heather Watson and Laura Robson have both had successful 2011 seasons, and improved their rankings dramatically, as well as pushing Anne and Elena in the British rankings. One girl who has failed to progress as much as she and the British fans would have liked is 19-year-old Tara Moore.
There are signs, however, that this former student of the Nick Bollettieri Academy is about to start breaking through at the senior level, and showing the likes of Watson and Robson that she can also be a top WTA player, or at least make a career out of the sport.
Moore started her junior career with moderate success at the age of 13, winning a couple of lower grade junior events. Then in 2008, she began to enjoy more success with her British team mates at the junior Fed Cup competition. After playing a mixture of ITF and junior events in 2009 and 2010, it was at the Roehampton junior event where Moore showed glimpses of what she could do, especially on grass courts. The youngster managed to reach the final and defeat a host of top junior players, including former world No. 1 Daria Gavrilova, and junior Grand Slam Champion Karolina Pliskova–a sign that she could compete with the best. She followed up this success with her best showing in the junior Grand Slam at Wimbledon, where she reached the quarterfinals, losing out to her friend Robson. Moore was no longer a junior and needed a breakthrough on the ITF and WTA circuits.
The ITF circuit is a great breeding ground for young players, giving them an opportunity to gain plenty of match experience. Moore won her first $10k event in Frinton, gaining a notable final victory over now top 100 ranked Mona Barthel of Germany. Moore reached her first $25k semi-final in the same year in Felixstowe, but failed to capitalize fully on this success. She spent the next two years failing to break the WTA’s top 350 rankings, though she did have a notable win in 2009 against former WTA star Eleni Danillidou of Greece.
Moore has had a consistent 2011, and in the last few weeks of the season, she has shown she is finally ready to take control of her career and start her rise up the rankings. Moore reached the quarterfinals in Clermont (a $25k event), and reached her first semifinal in a $25k event since 2008, when she defeated the likes of Marta Domachowska in Glasgow. Recently, Moore reached the $10k final in Sunderland, and backed that up in Loughborough where she won the title. Moore’s ranking has improved to just outside the worlds top 300, and the 19-year-old should be able to break into the worlds top 200 in 2012, as she gains experience at a new playing level and continues to mature. She could gain a wildcard entry into the Wimbledon draw if she can break the top 250 WTA rankings by June next year, a target that is fully achievable.
Tara Moore may have had her problems in the past with a lack of professionalism, but the teenager can still turn her fledgling career around and become a consistent player on the WTA Tour. Robson and Watson maybe grabbing the limelight at the moment, and rightly so, but 2012 will be a critical year for Moore, and one the British fans hope she grabs with every opportunity.
Chris Goldsmith is a contributing writer for On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis on Twitter. @TheTennisTalker