Murrays in hurry to encourage talent to flourish

Andy and Jamie Murray have been training with Scotland's potential future stars
Andy and Jamie Murray have been training with Scotland's potential future stars

The recent successes of Maia and Ewen Lumsden are the latest achievements of an exciting crop of East Dunbartonshire tennis talent.

Both siblings are coached by Toby Smith, brother of Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon.

Toby Smith says help from Jamie and And Murray has been invaluable in supporting young players such as Ewen Lumsden

Toby Smith says help from Jamie and And Murray has been invaluable in supporting young players such as Ewen Lumsden

But according to Toby, another famous British tennis family is having a key input into the development of the Lumsdens and other young potential stars.

Both Andy and Jamie Murray have been offering both tangible as well as inspirational help as part of the drive to ensure Scotland’s current tennis boom leaves a lasting legacy.

Maia (19) won her maiden international Pro-Series event last week, defeating Poland’s Maja Chwalinska 6-4 6-2 to take the Aegon GB Pro-Series crown at Wirrall.

The event was the third in a series of three ITF $15,000 events in the UK over the past few weeks, following tournaments in Glasgow and Edgbaston in previous weeks

In both of those events Maia went out in the second round, but it was third time lucky in the Wirrall tournament.

Maia, ranked 846, defeated Britain’s Olivia Nicholls 6-4 6-3 in the opening round to book a last 16 clash with Belgian number seven seed Marie Benoit.

Benoit, world 399, had beaten Maia the previous week in Edgbaston but the Lenzie player turned the tables, winning a tight match 7-6 7-6.

American Emina Bektas was beaten in the quarter-finals, Maia coming form behind to win 5-7 6-1 6-2 and French number four seed Harmony Tan, world 372, took just three games off Maia in the semi-final, going down 6-2 6-1.

In the final Maia took the first set 6-4 before running away with the second 6-1 to take the title.

And Ewen almost made it a remarkable family double at a junior tournament in Holland.

Ewen, who turned 17 during the tournament in Doorn, defeated Arnaud Bovy (Belgium) 7-6 6-2, Aloys van Ball (Holland) 4-6 6-4 6-2, Switzerland’s Brian Bencic 6-2 6-2 and Holland’s Sidane Pontjodikromo 7-6 6-3.

However his run ended in the final when he had to retire when trailing Holland’s Jesper De Jong 6-1 3-0.

And the Lenzie siblings aren’t the only East Dunbartonshire players making an impact on the international scene.

Bearsden’s Aidan McHugh recently earned his first senior ranking point with a win at the Pro-Series event in Glasgow, while Balfron teenager Hamish Stewart is also making a name for himself at international level.

Of course the gap between promising young player and established pro player is a massive one - and Toby is quick to praise the efforts of the Murrays in helping to encourage his young proteges.

Jamie invited Toby, Ewen and Aidan out to Miami just before Christmas for a two-week training block and also set up a training session with himself and brother Andy earlier last month.

Toby said: “Jamie has been quite instrumental in supporting, in particular, Aidy and Lumsdo. Any time he’s back in the UK, or in Scotland, he says: ‘Right, come and work with me and my coaches’ and he’s also very kindly said that if he’s ever in Europe at one of the major tournaments if there’s plenty of practice courts and facilities, we can hop on a plane to join in to get a feel of the senior set-up which is great.

“As well as being the role model, it’s very, very tangible the fact that you’re actually on court with these guys and they want to put back in.

“It’s everything. Anything to do with the Murrays is going to be practical. That comes from certainly the dedication I got when I was younger from Judy as a coach and it’s very practical, very clever in maximising what we’ve got.

“The fact that we’re actually getting help from top world players is, for all of us, very inspiring.

“With Aidy we’re also having to manage his training while he does his Highers this year, until May. But I think he has most of the things in his locker to actually go forward in the senior game.

“With Ewen we’re also putting a lot of emphasis on his education until about May time and then, similar to Aidy, it’s really committed to tennis and the good thing for both is they’ll have the whole of this year and the whole of next year for junior tennis.”