University of Stirling tennis star to defend titles at Australian Open

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Anna McBride pictured at the PWII Women's Singles at the 2023 Australian Open.
Anna McBride competing at the 2023 PWII, Australian Open.

A University of Stirling tennis scholar will compete at the Australian Open this weekend – as she seeks to defend the two titles she won at last year’s event.  

First-year student Anna McBride will compete in the women’s singles and doubles at the Open's players with intellectual impairments (PWII) event. The 20-year-old is the defending champion at Melbourne Park after being crowned champion of both the singles and doubles at last year’s inaugural event.  

Anna is hoping to continue her success Down Under when play gets under way tomorrow (Friday 26 January). The number one seed will play Germany’s Sophia Schmidt in the first group stage match of the singles, before taking on Australians Carla Lenarduzzi and Kelly Wren.

Anna, from Dunfermline, will later team up with Schmidt for the women’s doubles, where they will be up against three other pairs as they vie for the title Anna won last year with Greek-Australian partner Andriana Petrakis. 

Anna McBride pictured after winning the PWII Women's Singles at the 2023 Australian Open. Tennis star: Anna McBride pictured after winning the PWII Women's Singles at the 2023 Australian Open.

Speaking ahead of her first match, Anna – who is studying a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science at the University – said: “I am both excited and nervous about competing. It is an amazing opportunity, and I am most looking forward to competing on the courts and being around the top players.” 

Reflecting on her experience last year, she continued: “I was a bit overwhelmed as it was my first time and I had only recovered from Covid a short time beforehand. However, once I got started, it was such a fantastic experience to be in that environment – it was very energetic and inspiring.  

“It was an amazing experience being around the best players in the world.  

“I’m feeling more confident this year, now that I know what to expect, and I’m looking forward to defending my titles.” 


In 2023, in a landmark move for the world’s tennis stars with an intellectual or hearing impairment, the Australian Open became the first slam to hold PWII and deaf or hard of hearing (DHOH) events. Launched in collaboration with Tennis Australia, the event follows the Open’s All Abilities Day, which celebrates the diverse opportunities available to all members of the tennis community, and provides a platform and voice for all involved.  

Played on hardcourt at Melbourne Park, the women’s singles tournament – which has eight entries – begins with a round robin, before moving into a knockout phase. Matches are played as a best-of-three tiebreak format.  

In the doubles, matches move straight to knockout and are played as best-of-two tiebreak sets, with a deciding match tiebreak played where required. The competition ends on Sunday (28 January). 

Anna is supported in Melbourne by her parents, the Lawn Tennis Association’s Disability Competitions Manager Sophie Hall, and five teammates from Team GB.  


David Bond, Head of Performance Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Anna is a very talented tennis player, and we are incredibly proud of her achievements to date. To be returning to the Australian Open as defending champion in both the singles and doubles events is a highly impressive feat.  

“On behalf of everyone at the University, we wish Anna all the best and will be keeping a close eye on her results over the weekend.” 

The University of Stirling is Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence, with world-class facilities providing the perfect training environment for the University’s sports scholars. The University offers sports scholarships as part of the largest high-performance sports programme in the UK. For more information, visit the University of Stirling website

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