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Charlie Robertson on Grand Slams, travelling and 2024


Charlie Robertson from the GB National Tennis Academy based at the University of Stirling has been looking back on his year and ahead to 2024

Before he rounds off 2023 at the Orange Bowl Championships, the 17-year-old told us about Junior Grand Slams, balancing tennis with school and what he’d be doing if it wasn’t for the sport.

You’ve risen through the Junior rankings over the last year (now top 100) - what’s that journey been like?

It’s been fun, travelling the world and playing so many different opponents. I hadn’t really travelled much before I joined the Academy, so it was a new thing for me to go and play a lot of Junior events abroad.

I kicked on a bit when I started with my coach Marko (Strilic, Tennis Scotland's GB NTA Head Coach); we have a great connection and we just clicked and I started winning lots of matches. I had good momentum so just kept going and now I have to push even more to get higher.

You’ve played in your first Grand Slam events (Roland Garros qualifying, Wimbledon main draw), so how would you describe that experience?

My first one (Roland Garros) was a new experience for me on clay and it seemed everything came at once. It was fun to see all the top players out there, but I got used to seeing them and when I came into Wimbledon it didn’t feel as new.

Playing my first match in the main draw was obviously surreal, it was unbelievable, but I didn’t feel too nervous out there. I feel I handled it well and took the experience on in a good way.

Playing these Grand Slams is amazing, being with the best players in the world my age and seeing how far I’m off, but also how far I’ve come. It was surreal to play in front of the home crowd at Wimbledon - that was the best moment so far.

You have a very busy schedule, so how challenging is it to balance tennis with your schooling at Dollar Academy?

It is tough, there are many commitments at tournaments off court with all the proper preparation needed, and sometimes that seems the most important thing in that moment.

I’d say it’s got easier by speaking to a lot of people about it and learning how to balance things. At the end of the day, it’s what everyone has to do in a life of playing tennis, and you just have to do it.

What’s left in 2023 and going into 2024?

I’ve got a couple tournaments coming up, some big ones, so hopefully I’ll finish strongly back on the clay courts.

Next year, I’ll probably have the Junior Grand Slams, the Australian Open at the start of the year - hopefully main draw for that and the rest of the Slams. I’m really excited for the Australian Open, that’s what I’m most pumped for.

Before that, though, I have these tournaments to look forward to and kick on again. I’ve just got into the top 60 so it’s a good goal for me to keep pushing to get a good ranking going into Australia and start the year strong.

You’ve played a couple of pro events, including one recently in Glasgow - is that something you’ll look to do more often next year?

Yeah, next year I’ll for sure be looking to play more of these pro events like the 15s and 25s and balancing that with a bit of juniors to make sure I’m getting into the Grand Slams.

That’s what I’ve been working for this year going into next, so keeping the balance will be important, but for sure I’m looking to play pro events.

Off the court, what are your interests?

When we’re at tournaments we like to explore and see the cities wherever we are. When I’m at home in Scotland, I love to play golf - normally I’ll go play with my mates and socialise. It distracts my mind and it’s good fun.

If you weren’t doing tennis what would you be doing?

Definitely a sport. I played a lot of different sports when I was younger. I played some rugby but don’t think I’d be playing that now. Definitely a lot of football or golf, so I think one of those sports for sure I’d still be playing and getting involved in.

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