The Saint spoke to Tennis Club President Tori Linton and Vice-President Catherine Phelps about the changes taking place at the club and their hopes for the season ahead
THE SAINT: How well have you done for attracting Freshers and new members into the club?
Tori Linton: We’ve tried to change the way the club is run to get a lot more social members involved. Previously we just had one training session for non-team members and two social sessions, but those weren’t getting good attendance, it just wasn’t working out very well. This year we decided we wanted to get social members more actively involved. So we’re having more coaching available, but it’s all student coaching to build relationships between more advanced players from the team with coaching experience along with social members, so everyone is friendly and knows each other much more. We really want social members to feel a part of the club; most of the members aren’t on the teams, so we want them to be able to participate with us as well.
Catherine Phelps: At the end of the day there are so many good tennis players at St Andrews, but many don’t have the time to devote to it or they didn’t really know it was there until halfway through the year when it was too late for trials. We’re just trying to make more cohesive groups, so there’s a build-in framework so people can move up to the teams, and so far socials have been going really well – it’s been really fun.
TS: What was it like being a part of last year’s success?
CP: It was a really really great year. I think all of the teams did phenomenally well and a lot of players straddled two sides – it was fun to have all-round success, and last year I think we did a better job of getting boys supporting girls, etc. It’s part of what’s so fun about the Tennis team, we’re a mixed team. Hopefully we can do well enough so we can start travelling wider and extend our range.
TS: What’s coming up for the club in the next couple of months?
TL: We’ve got our main season coming up – the BUCS leagues as well as the Scottish League. So the teams will be travelling around a lot across Scotland in the next couple of months, as well as down to Nottingham in Reading Week. We’ll be looking to more individual tournaments in the spring semester. A lot of matches; if you come down to the Sports Centre on Wednesdays there’s always matches to watch!
TS: What do you think the teams can achieve this year?
CP: Well, the Women’s 1sts got second in Division 1 last year, and the year before we made it to the quarter-finals of the play-offs for the Premier League. So the dream is to make it to Premier League, and I think we might be able to do that this year, it’s really exciting. Then our 2nds just moved up into Division 1 – they just need to stay fighting in there!
TL: The Men, they finally made it up into Division 1, they made their breakthrough – so they just need to stay up to the height they got to last year. And we’ve got a couple of really great freshers that have definitely bolstered the first team.
TS: And finally, do you think Andy Murray will ever win a grand slam?
CP: [Laughs] You’re speaking to two Americans here! My heart is still set on Andy Roddick, but I think for Andy Murray this is his year. If he supports us, we’ll support him!