THE first intake of talented tennis teenagers have enrolled at a national academy based at the University of Stirling.

The ground-breaking GB National Tennis Academy at the local campus is one of two being set up by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to nurture the next generation of elite players.

It will be operated by Tennis Scotland who will develop individually tailored programmes for the players, dealing with all aspects of their game to prepare them for a potential future on the professional scene.

Their education is integrated into their curriculum through partners Dollar Academy and will also include substantial training and competitions abroad.

Dollar’s head coach Leo Azevedo will lead tuition – he previously worked with former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero and was also head coach at the US Tennis Association.

The Brazilian said: “Bringing the best young players together creates a winning environment.

“They push each other, they motivate each other and, importantly, they create a culture for others to aspire to in the future.

“We also have the benefit of additional training opportunities with a host of other sparring partners at Stirling where both the National Player Programme is housed and also the university tennis scholarship players.

“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.

“An education is extremely important because not everyone can become Andy Murray or Johanna Konta.

“My commitment to these players is to provide the best platform to succeed but only they can provide the effort and commitment necessary to make it as a professional tennis player.

“Equally, they have to make sure they find a balance between studying for their exams and dedicate to their training programme.

“We have an obligation to their parents to strike that balance and the team have already spent many hours with the rector and teachers at Dollar Academy to give these young players the best possible opportunity to thrive as tennis players and as young adults.”