The University of Stirling is to host one of the UK’s leading tennis pathway programmes.
Tennis Scotland at Stirling was named one of two National Academies, as part of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) 10-year Performance Strategy for British Tennis.
The National Academies will play a crucial role in implementing a new player pathway, which sits at the heart of the LTA’s performance strategy, led by Performance Director Simon Timson, and aims to make Britain one of the most respected places in the world for tennis player development.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we are delighted to have played a key role in the successful bid to host the National Academy, which will contribute significantly to the development of tennis in Scotland.”
The University of Stirling’s Director of Sport, Cathy Gallagher, said:“Being awarded the National Academy is fantastic news. Sport is intrinsically intertwined within the fabric of the University of Stirling.
“We are Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence; we have a proven record of success at the high levels of performance sport; we host the Scottish National Tennis Centre – and we have worked in partnership with Tennis Scotland since 1991.
“The National Academy in Stirling will unlock our potential to consistently produce tennis players for Scotland and Great Britain. Integrating the training of Britain’s brightest young players with our scholarship students presents benefits for everyone. We look forward to the exciting times ahead.”
The bid was led by Tennis Scotland in partnership with the University, Beaconhurst School and sportscotland institute of sport and held off stiff competition from across the UK to claim one of the two appointments. Loughborough University was named the other National Academy by the LTA.
Chief Executive of Tennis Scotland, Blane Dodds, said: “This is tremendous news, for the partners involved in the bid and for both Scottish and British Tennis. Scotland has enjoyed unprecedented levels of success in tennis with Andy and Jamie Murray, Gordon Reid and Colin Fleming. Players win Championships but systems enable players to win consistently.
“Winning the National Academy helps us to enhance the world-class sporting system in Scotland, and play a pivotal role in creating a pathway for champions that nurtures Britain’s highest potential players toward emulating Andy and Jamie’s successes.”
The National Academies – due to open in September 2019 – will set new, world-class standards for the holistic development of high-potential British players in transformative, full-time, residential training environments. The programmes will nurture 14 to 18-year-olds, and sometimes younger, as people, players and performers.
Players who demonstrate the greatest future potential in the sport will be selected and supported with world-class coaching, science, medicine, and welfare expertise, whilst also being provided with an excellent mainstream education up to at least GCSE-level.