Two Dundee tennis stars have expressed their pride at being nominated for top national awards for contributions to the sport in the area.
Ross Taylor (25) and Alix Christie (16) have been put up for prizes at the Tennis Scotland Awards 2019.
The Scottish governing body’s big annual ceremony takes place tomorrow night at Dunblane Hydro where court aces Taylor and Christie will discover their fate.
Taylor is in the running for Coach of the Year for his work at Forthill, Newport and Wormit Tennis Clubs, while Christie will be hoping to take home the Young Person of the Year gong for the progression she has shown as a player and volunteer under Taylor at Forthill.
Taylor, a final year student at Abertay University, has been working hard to increase opportunities for local people to get involved in tennis and believes the award nomination only solidifies his belief his endeavour is worthwhile.
He said: “I’m really proud. I’ve worked hard, the club’s worked hard and the volunteers have, too, so I think as a collective group it feels a bit fraudulent that it’s Coach of the Year and not anything else but I’m chuffed on the whole.
“It’s about trying to create activity which gets inactive people active and bring families together.
“It gives people opportunities to progress, get success, gain confidence, make friends and grow their self-esteem. That’s what it’s all about.
“I’m so proud of everyone who’s helped make the programmes at Forthill and the other clubs succeed and have an impact in Dundee.
“There are far too many people to mention, I’m just the face of it and there are loads of people behind the scenes who make it happen.
“It’s a thankless task for some of the volunteers but they do it well and take a lot of pride in it and that’s what makes it feel so rewarding for me, personally.
“These people care and it gives it a real feel-good factor.
“The award is a hugely significant step for us but it doesn’t define what we’ve done.”
On his fledgling Christie, Taylor added: “Alix started playing tennis last May.
“She’s not even been in the sport for 12 months and that’s the scary part.
“She has done over 200 hours of voluntary tennis coaching, competition delivery and playing herself.
“She’s thrown herself at it and never really looked back. She’s doing coaching badges in June to become an official part of the team.
“She’s trained in Judy Murray’s programme. There’s no reason she can’t go on and achieve more.”
Of her love for the sport, Grove Academy pupil Christie said: “Since starting tennis just three years ago, I’ve made some great friendships.
“I enjoy playing tennis because it’s a great way to stay active mentally and physically.
“I like that you can constantly challenge yourself to be a better player by having to adapt your skills to match those of your opponents.”
Elsewhere, David Anderson of Dawson Park Tennis and Steven Birrell of David Lloyd Dundee are Taylor’s main competitors in the coach section. Fairfield Community Sports Hub have been nominated for the Community Award, while other locals Dundee and Angus College have been put up for the Education Award.