New Malden’s Mel South is enjoying her tennis again despite an early exit from the ladies doubles at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

The 27-year-old and Tara Moore, her partner of 18 tournaments, were left disappointed after a first round exit, but South feels the duo are on the cusp of something big.

The pair have reached eight semi-finals since getting together in May last year.

They have gone on to win twice – at the Glasgow ITF in January, and at Rancho Mirage in America in February.

Of their past eight tournaments, the pair have been knocked out in the lottery of a super tie-break six times.

Although still only ranked 264 in the world, South and Moore are forming a solid partnership based on friendship, encouragement and knowing what makes the other one tick.

South said: “We play really well together and we have had really tight matches during the whole grass season.

“Losing on the super tie-breaks has been a shame because they would have made such a difference to our rankings.

“We both want to win and we both know we are trying, so we can have a laugh and enjoy it as well.

“We know how each other ticks. We know when to leave things or when to encourage each other – we do just have fun out there. A lot of people don’t and they take it too seriously. I don’t think you can play your best tennis if you do it that way.”

She added: “We both know key phrases for each other – if we’re missing certain shots we know how to help each other out.

“We just keep telling each other to hit the ball, because that is when we are playing our best.”

South underwent wrist surgery at the end of last year, and is coming out the back of a long recuperation.

She has been struggling to raise her singles game and improve her ranking, currently 589, but her doubles mentality is helping.

Wimbledon Times: Mel South / Tara Moore

Partners: Tara Moore works at the Wimbledon net while Mel South looks on   WI77411

“As soon as I step on a doubles court I am more relaxed, especially with Tara," she said.

“I have found having a doubles mindset when you are playing singles has helped over the grass season – I had not won three matches in a row for a year before my injury.

“But to qualify in Nottingham, and to win in the pre-qualifying for Wimbledon, was a good thing for me, so I am looking forward to just getting back out there now.”