BRAZILIAN tennis coach Leonardo Azevedo has been appointed by Tennis Scotland and the LTA to head up the coaching team for the new GB National Tennis Academy at University of Stirling.

The 42-year-old brings vast experience at the highest level of both male and female professional tennis, with a particularly strong record in developing juniors. Renowned as a world-class coach - including for his work with former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero - Brazilian-born Azevedo  will lead a new coaching team dedicated to the academy, which is one of only two in the UK and will partner with Dollar Academy. The 42-year-old has coached across the world for almost 20 years, from junior level to Grand Slam, Davis Cup and Olympic Games preparation, and has worked with some of the world’s most promising players such as Ferrero, Marion Bartoli and Guillermo Garcia Lopez.

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He will be supported in Scotland by Colin Fleming, Esteban Carril and Leon Smith in developing next generation of British tennis talent

The programme will also offer eight of Britain's top young tennis players the opportunity to study at one of Scotland's leading independent schools, Dollar Academy. While attending Dollar Academy, the players will benefit from the unrivalled range of academic and co-curricular activities, with access to the widest range of subjects in Scotland. The GB National Tennis Academy at the University of Stirling has also been boosted by Tennis Scotland’s announcement of Dunlop as its official tennis equipment partner in a multi-year deal, which covers the academy.

“It is an honour to be appointed the first Head Coach of the new GB National Tennis Academy at the University of Stirling,” said Azevedo. “Tennis in Britain and Scotland has been on a fantastic journey over the last two decades and we don’t need to look far from Stirling to be inspired.”

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Azevedo joins from his current position as Head Coach at international tennis academy Barcelona Total Tennis (BTT) in Spain. He previously spent eight years at the United States Tennis Association as lead national coach of player development and worked with many of the country’s top players including Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, Donald Young, Taylor Dent and Cici Bellis.

“It’s a genuine coup for tennis in Scotland and Great Britain to attract a coach of Leonardo’s calibre, bringing with him a truly world-class reputation,” said Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive: “Our recruitment process for this key role was thorough and we have excellent references from some of the most respected coaches in the game, including Ivan Lendl and José Higueras.

“Not only do we have confidence that we’ve made the best possible appointment but also that we’ve built a world-class coaching team around him – Colin, Esteban and Leon all providing invaluable support, insight and skillsets.

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“With Scotland and Britain recently enjoying such unprecedented levels of success in world tennis through Andy and Jamie Murray and Gordon Reid, the time is now to capitalise on their success and achievements. I’m confident we have put everything possible in place to help young talent thrive in Stirling when the GB National Tennis Academy opens later this year and we all share an excitement at what lies ahead.”

The first wave of successful applicants, aged 13–18, start at the GB National Tennis Academy at the University of Stirling this August, part of the LTA’s 10-year performance strategy focussed on creating a seamless pathway for champions that will nurture a diverse team of players and people. The long-term plan provides a clear route from under-8 to senior major tournament success.