FEARS that the new GB National Tennis Academy based at the University of Stirling would proceed without any Scottish players have been averted after Matthew Rankin, a promising 14-year-old from Edinburgh, won a place in the initial intake of teenagers to enrol in the ambitious scheme.

The ground-breaking academy is one of two set up by the LTA to nurture the next generation of elite British tennis players, their skills with a racket being fostered alongside their daily curriculum of education delivered via Dollar Academy. Along with generous provision for competition and foreign training, their schedule will also include strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports medicine, sports psychology and welfare support.

A rigorous selection process focused both on the players’ future potential and their commitment to their studies. Headed up by a respected coaching team headed up by Brazilian Leo Azevedo, a former coach of former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Fed Cup Coach Colin Fleming, the addition of Rankin is significant as Tennis Scotland begins a new four-year plan to provide a legacy for the unprecedented success of the Murray family. The 14-year-old competed for Great Britain recently at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku.

“Bringing the best young players together creates a winning environment,” said the Brazilian, who also worked with the USTA Academy. “They push each other, they motivate each other and, importantly, they create a culture for others to aspire to in the future.

“I am excited to be part of this programme and so should the players who have been selected. To have the opportunity to hone your sporting potential alongside a great education and full programme of support is something not many young people are fortunate enough to be able to do.

“Now that we have a world-class coaching team in place and our first intake of pupils, the excitement around the GB National Tennis Academy at Stirling University is really starting to build,” said Blane Dodds, the Tennis Scotland Chief Executive.

“It has been a long time in the making but it is important that we have the correct infrastructure, programme and culture in place to give these young players the best chance in life and in their careers. It is so important to have a world class programme in Scotland as part of our delivery of the Murray Legacy.

Class of 2019: Matthew Rankin (Edinburgh), Henry Jefferson (Surrey), Sam Reeve (Cheshire), Hannah Read (Hertfordshire), Hephzibah Oluwadare (Hertfordshire), Millie Skelton (Yorks), Ella McDonald (Lancs), Talia Neilson-Gatenby (Leics)