IT’S game, set and match for Jennifer Metcalfe, who has found love with tennis ace James Ward.
The Hollyoaks star was photographed out with the former British No2 in Manchester on Monday.
Pals said Jennifer, 40, and James, 37, had been quietly dating for a few months.
A source added: “Jen and James have been dating for quite a long time but she’s always kept things very low key.
“He joined Jen as her date to a party in Manchester and it was their first outing at a public event as a couple.
“She is really into James and they have a lot in common. He prefers a quiet life too, which is ideal for Jen who spends a lot of her life in the spotlight.
“All their friends approve of their relationship and Jen’s friends are happy she’s found someone steady like James.”
Jen beamed as she was seen with James for the first time on Monday.
The pair had spent the evening at Chelsee Healey and her sister Kate’s Rags The Label party, which was held to launch their new clothing line.
James announced his retirement from professional tennis in December 2021.
At his prime he was Britain’s No2 tennis player and in 2015 reached the third round of Wimbledon.
In that year he was also part of the Davis Cup team and went on to win the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year Award with his fellow players.
Jennifer is mum to Daye, six, with her ex-partner, Geordie Shore star Greg Lake.
The couple split in 2020 after eight years together.
She later enjoyed a brief romance with Oldham Athletic player Chris Eagles and also dated toyboy boyfriend Josh Cox, 22, for a short spell.
Jennifer previously reflected on relationships and life while speaking on the Soap From The Box podcast.
She said: “Does a happy ending exist? It doesn’t, and this is me talking.
“You get everything you ever wanted, you get your car, your house, your job, the dream and then it’s like, ‘OK, what now?’.
“No one settles. Everyone has always got a little, ‘what next?’, that’s the zest of life in my opinion. Everyone has the same emotions.
“You want to be happy, you want to experience love, whatever that looks like.”
Jennifer has starred as Mercedes McQueen in Hollyoaks since 2006.