THE race up the rankings has been swift and sure but the team supporting Maia Lumsden is already planning the next step.

The Bearsden girl is now the No.1 under-14 player in the Tennis Europe rankings published today.

The 14-year-old, who is coached by Toby Smith, brother of Davis Cup captain Leon, is part of the Tennis Scotland performance programme.

"Rankings are not the be all and end all," said Smith. "We are delighted at Maia's progress, but it is more important to discover what is best for her and best for her development."

Maia's progress has been aided by a physical development programme that has made her stronger and fitter. "There are a lot of big girls out there, particularly from Eastern Europe, so it was something we had to work on," said Smith.

"She is very intelligent, a very smart tennis player who finds strategies to win games. She is also very stubborn." This will and intellect has taken her far, but Smith and the Lumsden family are already considering the next step.

"One of the problems is that because of the weather in Scotland Maia is short of practice in outdoor conditions," said Smith. A natural step would be to go to the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, where Andy Murray trained more than a decade ago.

"Identifying the next step is crucial because Maia moves out of the under-14 age group this year," said Smith. This is likely to include entry in the junior grand slams.

Maia is part of a cadre of four young Scots under the care of Smith at the national academy at Stirling University, including Maia's bother Ewen, 12, Ali Collins, an under-11 champion in Riga last week, Alexandra Hunter, winner of the doubles in Latvia, and Aiden McHugh.

David Marshall, Tennis Scotland chief executive, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Maia and excellent reward for the hard work that she and Toby have put in.

"While Andy Murray understandably receives the limelight as far as tennis in Scotland is concerned, Maia's achievement is one of many examples of the huge amount of good things happening in the sport right now."