THE Tim Henmans and Sue Barkers of the future could be unearthed thanks to a tennis talent scheme for youngsters.

The Durham and Cleveland Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is launching a project to encourage primary schools in County Durham and Teesside to take up the sport.

It will provide coaching, mini-tennis competitions and specialist coaching for promising youngsters who could join a national squad of potential future stars.

It is hoped that more than 15,000 youngsters will take part in the scheme.

Durham and Cleveland LTA president Harry Thomas said: "Extending existing schools projects to primary schools gives tennis talent-seekers like us access to lower age groups.

"Naturally the mini-tennis calls for scaled down courts and so on, bearing in mind the age of the youngest children eligible to take part. But it is still possible to spot playing potential worth nurturing and developing further.''

The scheme has won £5,000 sponsorship from SpringHealth Leisure, which has health clubs across the region.

It has attracted match funding under the Government's Business Sponsorship Incentive Scheme.