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INTERVIEW: Cool Ewan Moore has all the attributes of a top player

“AN old head on young shoulders” is how 12-year-old Ewan Moore’s coach describes his most successful protege, and it’s something the Fenwick youngster ably demonstrated when winning the 12 and under AEGON Junior Grand Prix Masters at Roehampton last Sunday.

Henry Beesley of Lincolnshire had actually beaten Moore at the round-robin stage of the tournament, but the Scot’s response in the final against the same player could hardly have been more emphatic: he won 6-1, 6-0.

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“I was nervous to begin with because he beat me at the group stages, but I didn’t let it affect me,” says the youngster, who was ranked No.19 in Britain before his triumph and should now move up several places.

Mark Openshaw, his coach at Prestwick Tennis Club, adds: “Ewan has the ability to learn quickly from his mistakes and correct them, not always with a coach telling him what to do. And he’s able to produce the big points at the big moments in a match, which is not necessarily something you can teach someone.”

The Ayrshire youth’s achievement is all the more commendable given that he was a relative latecomer to tennis, a sport in which “the younger the better” is generally the attitude towards nurturing talent. “He only started playing about three years ago, so obviously he’s been playing catch-up – the majority of the kids he’s been playing against have been playing for much longer,” says Ewan’s mother, Morag.

Clearly, then, he’s come a long way over a short space of time. According to Openshaw his attitude and application have been key. “He’s come on massively,” says the Englishman. “His attitude struck me from an early stage. He was willing to get out of bed and come down and train at six in the morning. He always had ability but his improvement was gradual at first and then everything just seemed to click in. His technique has improved and he continues to work and never complains.”

Moore himself cites the example of no less a figure than Rafael Nadal as influencing his outlook. “I don’t get angry if I’m losing,” he says. “Nadal’s attitude is like that – if he loses he doesn’t make any excuses; he just says that other guy played better.”

He will now move on to 14 and under level and hopes to compete in European events over the coming year. His parents are committed to helping him go as far as he can in tennis but for the time being there are no plans to disrupt his schooling arrangements with thoughts of tennis academies or full-time regimes. Besides putting in the hours at Prestwick, he trains regularly with a squad at Scotstoun and gets out of school one afternoon a week to attend Scotland’s national tennis centre at Stirling.

Openshaw says: “The most important thing for him at the moment is his training programme. He’s doing about 15 hours a week, so he’s not far off what is classed as full-time anyway. He’s developed a little bit later than some kids but he’s starting to really come through now and if he continues to improve in the same way there’s no reason he can’t do well as a professional player. The next six years is crucial, of course, but so long as keeps working as hard as he is he’s got a good chance.”

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