THE first week of Wimbledon is always a busy time for Keith Wooldridge who has been inextricably linked with three generations of Scottish women who have appeared at the world's premier tournament.

At 57 years old, the man from Surrey who is in charge of the training of the British women's team, will spend most of the time checking the courts at the All England Club to see how well his charges, most of whom have been given wild cards into the event, are doing.

However, one girl he will take a closer interest in than most is Elena Baltacha, the latest name on a short list of Scottish women who have played tennis at Wimbledon in the modern era. The best known was the now-deceased Winnie Shaw, whom Wooldridge married in 1972 and who tragically died at the young age of 45, a year after she suffered a stroke as she played golf at Wentworth.

Next in the line of Scots appearing at Wimbledon was Suzi Mair, who was occasionally coached by Shaw. Wooldridge remembers her as a great young talent who appeared at the All England Club back in 1984 and was one victory away from meeting Martina Navratilova on Centre Court. No Scottish girl has graced the tournament since Mair and, when Elena Baltacha steps on court against Nathalie Dechy of France for her first-round match this week, she will be the first player from north of the border to compete at Wimbledon for 17 years.

It is sad to contemplate that so few Scots have made the grade in tennis, especially when you consider how good Shaw was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the inspiration she provided to a generation of players.

The 18-year-old girl from Clarkston first came to prominence back in 1965 when she took on Maria Bueno, of Argentina, who was the top player in the world in the first round.

Although she lost 6-3, 6-2 the game kicked off a great tennis career for the former Hutchesons' Grammar School pupil which culminated in appearances in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 1970 and 1971 and a semi-final appearance in the doubles along with her fellow Scot Joyce Barclay.

During her time in the game, she met a dashing young man called Keith Wooldridge who played Davis Cup tennis and whom she married in 1972. She promptly retired from the game after her wedding, although she continued coaching in London where she helped Suzi Mair work on her game.

Keith remembers how Winnie simply enjoyed her tennis and played in a generation which boasted some great players from all parts of Britain. ''Winnie was in the Wightman Cup team with players like Virginia Wade and Ann Jones, both of whom were great players,'' said Keith. ''I remember watching Winnie in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and she was a strong player, a great serve and volleyer who simply enjoyed herself.

''Looking back, maybe everybody took for granted that she had made a Wimbledon quarter-final because there was so much British talent about at the time. Everybody assumed there would be other players who would make it happen again. It was just a great time for everybody and, looking back, I'm still very proud of what she achieved. It's not fair to compare her to players of this generation as the tennis world has changed so much; the girls are getting stronger and the technology is improving.''

Winnie was clearly a natural athlete and an indication of her strength of character and natural sporting ability came after she retired from tennis and took up golf. Her handicap was originally 26 but she got so good at the game that she got it down to scratch within a year and played for Scotland in 1983 at amateur level before reaching the semi-final of the Scottish Amateur Championship at Troon in 1981.

''Winnie had a great ability at all racket sports,'' remembers Wooldridge. ''She used to play with Belle Robertson, who was a great Scottish golfer in her day and I remember she encouraged a young Laura Davies . . . and we all know what happened to her.

''Although she loved golf, tennis always remained her first love and she was delighted to see Suzi Mair appear at Wimbledon. She would have been delighted to see Elena doing so well.''

Encouraging young players was something which Shaw always did, whether it be at golf or tennis, and Wooldridge remembers clearly when Suzi Mair used to come down to London for training. Every now and then Norman Mair, the highly-respected Scottish journalist and former rugby internationalist, would put daughter Suzi on a flight from Edinburgh to London and she would be picked up at the other end by Winnie and Keith.

''Suzi was a great player and part of Winnie's national women's squad,'' said Wooldridge. ''Like my wife, Suzi was a very strong player and, in a way, similar to Elena Baltacha in style.

''It's a shame that she turned out to be the last Scottish girl to play at Wimbledon up to now but, to be honest, I think the problem we have all over Britain is to get women to actually play tennis and we have to get the interest up again.''

Wooldridge has great faith in Baltacha who he believes has the ability to make a big impact in the professional game and could ignite interest north of the border.

''Elena was 800 in the world rankings last year and she will probably be ranked around 260 when Wimbledon starts,'' said Wooldridge. ''That's a great move up the table by her and the way she performed at Eastbourne last week shows how good a player she is.

''She has a difficult first round game but even appearing at Wimbledon will add a new dimension to the tournament for people from Scotland.''

How A.M.D. reported on Winnie Shaw's march to the quarter-finals in 1971 for The Glasgow Herald

WINNIE SHAW'S photograph was on the cover of yesterday's official Wimbledon programme, a happy augury of her convincing win over Miss E Pande, of the United States.

She looked very calm and slim and tiny as she came off Court 8 wearing a simple dress shirred at the waist and bound round the neck and armholes with the deep lilac that is this year's Wimbledon colour.

Autograph hunting is in theory forbidden, but eager schoolgirls immediately clustered round Winnie wanting her assured and in the circumstances remarkably steady signature alongside the photograph on their programmes.

The win puts Winnie into the last 16 with a chance of equalling her best Wimbledon performance so far and reaching the quarter-finals as she did last year - the only British woman player to do so. She makes equivocal movements with hand and mouth in estimating her chances - very much the same gestures with which she comments on her year's performances so far.

She has been in America, New Zealand, and Australia and the very slim figure is proof that it has been no joy ride.

She drives herself over daily to Wimbledon from the bedsitter she always stays in near Queen's Club (handy for practising) where a most understanding landlady makes her feel at home.