Dunblane tennis ace Ali Collins has won a major British Tennis award after reaching three singles finals in three international competitions.

Dunblane tennis ace Ali Collins has won a major British Tennis award after reaching three singles finals in three international competitions.

Ali, a pupil at Beaconhurst School in Bridge of Allan, was awarded the Aegon Junior Player of the Month award for March after representing Great Britain during a recent tour of Central America.

The 14-year-old won one Singles title and one Doubles title, with GB colleague Fran Jones, at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior U18 tournaments last month.

She also reached the finals of two more Singles competitions before narrowly losing out to American players.

Ali said: “I enjoyed the Central America competitions although it was pretty hot and humid over there so it was hard work on the court at times.

“I was pleased with my performances and chuffed to win Player of the Month.

“It was a nice surprise because I really wasn’t expecting it.” It is the first time Ali has won the award which is presented monthly by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to the GB player considered to have made the best contribution to British Tennis.

The teenager’s winning performance began when she travelled to Central America for the Costa Rica Bowl last month reaching the Girls’ Singles Final before losing to USA’s Morgan Coppoc.

She and her team-mates then headed to the Panama Bowl where Ali also reached the Singles Final but lost a tight three-set battle to American Amanda Meyer.

Ali and her doubles partner Fran Jones then went on to beat Amanda Meyer and Anna Dollar in the Doubles Final.

Next up was the Copa Sultana-Mayaguez in Puerto Rico, where Ali faced her teammate Fran in the Singles Final beating her 6-4, 6-2 in two sets.

Ali and Fran also made it through to the Semi-Finals of the Doubles competition in the Puerto Rico tournament before being beaten by a Canada/GB pairing.

She said: “It was quite hard playing against Fran in the Singles Final at Puerto Rico because she’s my friend and teammate.

“But when we are in this position we go onto court, pretend we’re not friends for the match and just get on with it.” Ali lives in Dunblane with her father Lee, a former professional footballer, mother Dawn and brother Max.

She attends Beaconhurst School where, as a scholarship pupil, she has a flexible study programme which ensures she can combine playing national and international tennis with her schoolwork.

Beaconhurst’s director of sport Judith Ramsay has watched Ali’s tennis career flourish over the past few years and is amazed by her achievements.

She noted: “We are so proud of Ali and to win the Aegon Junior Player of the Month award is fantastic.

“She did phenomenally well during her tour of Central America – especially when you think that at 14 she is at the younger end of her age group.

“It’s also good to see Ali taking advantage of the programme we offer at Beaconhurst and managing to keep up with her studies as well as her tennis.

“Her hard work and enthusiasm make her a great role model.” Ali’s dad Lee is also pleased with his daughter’s performance both on and off the court.

He added: “Her family are really proud of how she made it to all those finals during the Central America tour. It was just fantastic and we were delighted she was rewarded for her hard work with the Player of the Month award.

“We’re also pleased with how supportive the Beaconhurst teachers are towards Ali and how she’s managing to keep up with her schoolwork as well as her tennis.”