Three University of Stirling tennis scholars have won the 'the world event of university tennis' with Team GB after defeating the USA in the final of the BNP Paribas Master'U in Lille.
Scott Duncan, Maia Lumsden and Jonny O’Mara were part of the first ever group of British players to bring home the gold after their victory at the Ligue des Flandres de Tennis. The win shows the continuing improvement within UK university tennis with Team GB superseding its bronze from 2016 and previous World University Games medals.
It was a dominant display from start to finish from the Brits as they defeated Ireland 6-1 and China 7-0 in the earlier rounds before going on the defeat USA, who were going for their seventh consecutive title, 4-2 in an intense final.
Commenting on the event, MSc Psychology of Sport student, Duncan, said: “I really enjoyed the weekend and felt the team atmosphere and spirit provided a great platform for us all to play our best tennis. I’m absolutely delighted to get the gold medal and help make history!”
Sport Studies student, Lumsden, who is enjoying a rich vein of form both on the singles and doubles circuits, added: “It’s been an amazing few days with unforgettable experiences on and off the court.”
O’Mara, who is in his first year of a Sport Studies degree, was also ecstatic to represent his country and come away with the result. He said: “It's been an incredible few days with some special moments and really great to share the win with the team.”
The Stirling trio were joined by Philippa Horn and Emma Hurst from the University of Bath as well as University of North Florida athlete, Jack Findel-Hawkins.
Speaking at the event, Universities Manager at the Tennis Foundation and proud Team Captain of the Great Britain Master’U team in France, Alistair Higham, said: "It was an incredible day with the whole team contributing to a magnificent victory. Defeating the USA team with the best of the US College system including former US Open Champion and their No.1 ranked girl and No.1 ranked boy was very special. The team spirit we have is second to none and the players found levels of performance and mental strength required to defeat the champions of six years in a row. This has been the result of a lot of hard work and investment behind the scenes from the Tennis Foundation for the past six years.”
Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, added: “It is an absolutely fantastic result for everyone involved and we’re particularly delighted for our Stirling athletes who proved yet again that they can consistently deliver at the very top.
“Our High Performance Tennis Coaching team led by Euan McGinn, is doing a wonderful job with the programme and the recent medals and titles show the impact they are having on the students. We want all of our athletes to reach their potential and enjoy experiences like Scott, Maia and Jonny have in Lille and working closely with Tennis Scotland, we will carry on providing the best possible performance environment for them to develop.
“Whilst the athletes delivered on-court in France, special thanks must go to BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) and the Tennis Foundation whose unwavering support for student tennis in the UK continues to be vital to its ongoing success.”
The Tennis Foundation is Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, supporting University tennis via numerous methods including: generating the future tennis workforce; providing support to get more students playing tennis; offering enhanced support for institutions engaged in a broader programme of tennis provision and supporting the sharp end of performance.
Visit the Tennis Foundation’s website to find out more about its involvement in UK university sport.
All images by Etienne Jeanneret.