Super six selected for GB student tennis team

25/11/2019

| News

Maia Lumsden at the 2018 Master'U BNP Paribas

Six of the country’s best university tennis players have been selected to represent Great Britain at the world championships of university tennis in France later this month.

The Master’U BNP Paribas event is the world’s biggest annual university team tennis competition and takes place in Grenoble from 29 November – 1 December. It will provide yet another opportunity to add to Great Britain’s growing reputation as one of the leading nations in the world for university tennis.

Having beaten the USA college side to win an historic first ever title in 2017, and then finished as runners-up last year, the British team will be hoping for another successful campaign this time around. They will once again be taking on some of the best university tennis players in the world with teams from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the United States battling to lift the trophy.

Who's in the team?

Selected by BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) and managed by the LTA, the national governing body for tennis in Britain, the GB team features Maia Lumsden (University of Stirling), Ella Taylor (Loughborough University), Emily Arbuthnott (Stanford University), Ben Jones (University of Bath), George Houghton (Loughborough University) and Daniel Little (University of Nottingham). The team will be managed by the LTA’s Alistair Higham, with Team Bath’s Barry Scollo acting as head coach.

With tough opposition, the squad will be aiming to negotiate a group stage to progress to the semi-finals and then the final. Each tie will see the team play two women’s singles and a doubles, two men’s singles and a doubles, and a mixed doubles match.

University of Stirling’s Maia Lumsden will be making her third appearance for Great Britain at the tournament, with the Sports Studies student saying:

“I’m so excited to play in the Master’U again this year. I was part of the winning team two years ago and I’m hoping we can replicate our victory once again. The competition is always tough, but I’m looking forward to heading out to France and getting back on court with my teammates.”

'A platform to develop professional careers'

University tennis in Great Britain and selection for the GB university team is increasingly becoming part of a platform for players to develop professional careers. Lumsden reached a career high of 250 in the WTA world rankings last month, while GB teammate and University of Bath scholar Jones, who made his Master’U debut last year, went on to win the first professional title of his career this summer.

Other GB team alumni include Jonny O’Mara, who played alongside Lumsden in the historic 2017 Master’U win, and who reached a career high doubles world ranking of 44 this year.

GB's 2017 Master'U title winning team

Looking ahead to the event, LTA Universities Manager, Alistair Higham, said:

“We’re really looking forward to being back at the Master’ U BNP Paribas and taking on some of the best teams in the world once again. We have another strong team this year with a good mix of experience and some new faces. Britain has had great success over the last two years with a fantastic team spirit and we are excited to continue that.

“University tennis in Britain is really thriving at the moment, with the significant investment in facilities and commitment to delivering tennis programmes from universities across the country in recent years now paying dividends. This year will see the highest number of teams ever compete in BUCS tennis, while at an international level our GB student team has won an unprecedented eight medals in the last four years – hopefully we can add to that tally in Grenoble.”

Over 700 former county, regional and national standard players are currently on university programmes in Britain, playing 8+ hours per week alongside study, helping retain them in the sport. The level of players in the system is now the best it has ever been, with 17 players from GB universities achieving ATP or WTA rankings in the last five years – something that had never happened before – demonstrating how British university tennis programmes have become established as a genuine route towards a professional career in tennis.

GB Team player profiles

 Maia Lumsden

  • University of Stirling
  • Sports Studies, 4th year
  • Age 21
  • Hometown: Lenzie, Scotland
  • Career highlights: GB University Student Team gold medal at Master’U 2017 and silver in 2018; Achieved first WTA main draw win at 2019 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham; Reached the finals of $25,000 events in Korea and Israel on this ITF World Tennis Tour this year
  • “I’m really looking forward to representing Great Britain once again at the Master’U this year. Winning the title in 2017 remains one of the highlights of my tennis career. We came so close to repeating it last year, and I can’t wait to join up with the rest of the GB university team for this year’s event and what is sure to be another awesome atmosphere”

Emily Arbuthnott

  • Stanford University
  • Economics, 4th year
  • Age 22
  • Hometown: Harpenden, Hertforshire
  • Master’U tournaments: 2019
  • Career highlights: Women’s Singles silver medallist at the 2019 World University Games – Britain’s best performance for over 50 years; Achieved 15/15 wins for Hertfordshire at County Week Division 1 in 2019
  • “I am thrilled to have been selected as part of the GB uni team competing at Master U. I've been lucky enough to play for the GB uni team in the past and those events have been some of the most fun, exciting and memorable experiences I have had as a tennis player. I am sure this will be no different so am thoroughly looking forward to meeting the rest of the team and heading to France.”

 Ella Taylor

  • Loughborough University
  • Strength and Conditioning Masters Degree
  • Age 24
  • Hometown: Lymington, Hampshire
  • Master’U tournaments: 2019
  • Career highlights: Current Captain of Loughborough Women's First Team; 2019 BUCS Doubles Championships Gold Medallist
  • “I’m incredibly excited to have been selected for my first GB university squad and cannot wait to compete out in France with the team”

Ben Jones

  • University of Bath
  • Chemistry, 3rd year undergraduate
  • Age 21
  • Hometown: West Hampstead, London
  • Master’U tournaments: 2018 & 2019
  • Career highlights: Part of GB’s silver medal winning team at the 2018 Master’U; Winner of ITF $15,000 men’s doubles title in Israel; Winner of ITF $25,000 men’s doubles title in Chiswick; 2018 BUCS Individual Championships Doubles Gold, Singles Bronze medallist; 2019 BUCS Singles Championships bronze medallist; 2019 BUCS Doubles Championships bronze medallist; Half-Blue award for contribution to University of Bath sport; Suffolk men's player of the year 2018; University of Bath player of the year 2018
  • “I’m thrilled to have been selected to represent the GB Universities team - representing GB for the first time last year was the highlight of my tennis career and I’m looking forward to flying the flag for team GB again this year!”

 George Houghton

  • Loughborough University
  • Sport and Exercise Science, 4th year
  • Age 21
  • Hometown: Guildford, Surrey
  • Career highlights: Received player of the year from Loughborough sport tennis 3 years running; 2019 BUCS Singles Championships silver medallist; 2019 BUCS Doubles Championships bronze medallist
  • “I am very proud to be selected for the BNP Paribas Master’U team, it’s amazing to be able to represent your country and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Daniel Little

  • University of Nottingham
  • MSC Supply Chain and Operations Management, 1st year masters
  • Age 22
  • Hometown: Heathfield, East Sussex
  • Master’U tournaments: 2019
  • “It is an amazing feeling to get invited to such a prestigious event. To represent Great Britain is a privilege and I cannot wait for the challenges ahead with the team!”

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