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Wallace chooses Scotland and makes her mark in Australia

The name might not be instantly recognisable by dint of her Australian upbringing but Isabelle Wallace is doing her utmost to ensure that it becomes so in Scotland, the land of her birth.

Australian Open, Page 11
Australian Open, Page 11

Yesterday, Judy Murray was courtside to watch the youngster who hails from the Highlands earn her first grand slam singles victory, a win achieved the hard way as she let slip 4-1 leads in the second and third sets before finally beating home turn Priscilla Hon 6-3, 5-7, 12-10 in the Australian Open girls championship. Wallace and Hon used to be training partners in Melbourne and had things turned out differently, the 17-year-old Scot might still have been representing Australia.

Born in Inverness, she moved with her parents to Melbourne when she was 10 and played junior Fed Cup for Australia in 2012, before deciding to switch to Britain later that year, shortly after her parents had moved their bakery business back to Scotland.

With a surname like Wallace, Isabelle, who is delighted that her Scottish accent is getting stronger again, knows she really had no choice. "I like being Scottish," she said. "I'd rather be Scottish than anything else. All my friends would ask me: 'why are you playing for Australia?' If I trained here, (Tennis Australia) would want me to be Australian, I guess. But since I've been back in Scotland, I'm training in Stirling with Tennis Scotland and I like it."

Wallace admits that the facilities and the weather in Melbourne were tough to leave - "I have to train indoors in Stirling every day and it's annoying," she said - but she is now happy to be home, where she receives some support from the Lawn Tennis Association through its 'matrix scheme'.

Jamie Murray watched the last set and a half of Wallace's match and was clearly impressed as she held firm, clinching victory with a break of serve when Hon shanked a forehand long.

"It's my first grand slam singles win, so I was really happy with that," she said. "There were a lot of people watching so I was nervous at first but then I focused a lot. It's a pretty big win for me."

Wallace said she occasionally helps out in the family bakery but harbours no ambitions in that field. "I don't want to go college," she said. "Tennis is all I want to do and I just want to be a professional. Top 50 or higher would be my goal."

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