A YOUNG tennis star has overcome family turmoil to win a scholarship thanks to Greg Rusedski.
The former British number one believes Danielle Konotoptseva has done more than enough to earn a place on the Aegon Future Stars Programme run by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), for the second year running.
The 15-year-old from Notting Hill, who trains at David Lloyd Club Raynes Park and is better known as Dasha, is one of a handful of youngsters selected this week for the programme that supports the best juniors in the country.
But according to her coach, Konotoptseva has done it against the odds.
Martin Kuurmaa reckoned the difficulties involving her estranged Russian father has made his protégée even more 'resilient'.
He added: "Without going into detail, Dasha's family dynamics could have led her to a very dark place. In fact, it has made her tougher and a better player, and she deserves all the credit she gets."
At the weekend, Konotoptseva won the Aegon Junior International, an U16 Tennis Europe event, when she came from behind to beat Grace Lymer-Sullivan, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 at Roehampton.
And before that she was semi-finalist at another Aegon Junior International at the same venue. The west Londoner only lost to eventual winner Rosalie Willig in a six-point tie-break, going out 7-6 in the semi-final, after Konotoptseva lost the first set 6-0.
That was all that was needed for former US Open runner-up Rusedski, who is the talent ID ambassador for the LTA, to give the west Londoner another year's sponsorship.
He said: "Danielle knows this is a great opportunity to improve her game and grow within the sport.
"She is one of the most talented youngsters in the country and I'm delighted she has been reselected for Aegon Future Stars."
Konotoptseva will get financial help, educational tutoring if needed, access to one of the LTA's High
Performance Centres, coaching, masseurs and physio where required.
If she continues to make progress in tournaments, she also gets travel funding to the more prestigious competitions abroad.