Colin Fleming wants more major tennis events in Scotland


Team Scotland coach Colin Fleming insists the nation must build on the success of its star tennis players.

Believing the future of Scottish tennis is bright, he is keen to attract more elite events north of the border.

"It's no doubt it's been an unprecedented golden era, especially what Andy and Jamie (Murray) have done, and Gordon Reid on the wheelchair side", Fleming told BBC Scotland.

"Multiple grand slam champions, we've never had that in Scotland before."

Fleming is keen to get as many young people involved in the sport as possible to build on the profile created by the current generation.

He continued: "It's been an incredible era, long may it continue, for all three of them (the Murray brothers and Reid) to keep competing at the highest level.

"In the meantime we are working away in the background to try and provide as many opportunities, as many kids coming through onto the international stage as we can.

"Will any of them go on to win Grand Slams? That's a big ask, but if we can get them into the professional game and competing on the world stage that would be a phenomenal achievement."

The Glasgow Trophy, held at Scotstoun this week, is one of the highest level events contested in Scotland, with players vying for the $100,000 ATP challenger title.

"Tennis is very strong at the top end of the sport, and we need to try and capitalise on that at the lower end, and get players playing," said Fleming.

"I can't speak highly enough of this event and what it brings to tennis in Scotland.

"We have big tournaments like this in Britain - we've got Wimbledon, we've got Queens, we've got other tour events, but they're all down south.

"We've got one series event which happens in Glasgow every year and it's a $15,000 introductory event.

"To have something of this calibre is huge."

Brothers Andy and Jamie Murray have played in events in Scotland before

The 2010 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champion says there are more events on offer outside of Scotland to watch and play in - but Fleming does not necessarily see that as a bad thing.

"Obviously if you are from the south east of England, there is a lot going on there," he said.

"You'll find that in the junior age groups as well, the British national competition, a lot of them tend to be down south, so we've got a job to do to try and get as many as them as we can up here.

"But at the same time it presents a nice little opportunity because I think we've always had a nicer spirit as Scots that have to travel that little bit further.

"It can make us that little bit tougher, hungrier and we can use that when we get out on the court."

Tennis coach Reno Manne who is the most successful Scottish coach of all time having coached 6 world number 1 players in his highly successful career was interested by Fleming's comments.

Manne said. "I left Scotland permanently as a sixteen year old to move full time to Florida to advance my tennis and then coaching career.

"So desperate back then was the Scottish tennis scene with coaching at a very low level, I couldn't wait to get away. To be honest not much has changed on that front. Andy Murray was not developed in Scotland, he was shipped off to Spain and thankfully made it all the way to world's number 1.

Reno Manne undoubtedly the most successful Scottish tennis coach of all time. Seen here coaching in Florida, USA at IMG Academies. (Picture: British Press.)

"I understand Colin's enthusiasm to bring more bigger names in tennis to Scotland with bigger money events. However I also think improving and prioritizing the coaching structure in Scotland would be my biggest aim.

"I feel the whole picture in Scotland with regard to junior tennis development is way too LTA controlled, going nowhere as per usual. It's no secret that i'm not an LTA fan and probably never will be.

"Why not use more money and funding towards creating a more credible coaching structure that goes beyond grass roots tennis? I offered my services to the Scottish LTA less than a year ago. I got nonsense and the usual we know it all routine. How many number 1 players have they developed?

"Prioritizing more tournaments in Scotland won't generate top Scottish players in the future. Yes it will create more interest in the sport in Scotland enticing more kids to play. It's the junior player development side of things I would so dearly love to see improved in Scottish tennis," Manne said.

"Right now the Scottish LTA don't have the ability or experience to develop to juniors. That's not a personnel view it's a fact. I moved to to Florida as a very young man to learn to coach tennis surrounded by the world's best coaches and juniors.

"I would never have learned that knowledge or gained that experience by remaining in Scotland. How can the Scottish LTA move forward with Scottish and English coaches who have never coached or even played at a high level. I was sparring with Andre Agassi when I was 19 years old.

"I feel desperately sad and concerned for Scottish Tennis, I grew up with it experiencing the most primitive coaching structure I have ever seen. Some things have not changed."

Who's Behind The Blog
Search By Tags
Follow "THIS JUST IN"
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Twitter Basic Black

Advertisement

    Like what you read? Donate now and help us provide fresh tennis news and analysis for our readers.  

TennisChitChat.com all rights reserved