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British University Tennis: A Year in Review

• 4 MINUTE READ

As university students head home for the summer, we take a look back at the 2023-24 British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) tennis season, focusing on the successes and highlights of the teams and individuals in the BUCS competition year.

The Year in Numbers

2916 students competed in 2026 fixtures (11286 matches) across the 47 BUCS leagues this year all the way from Plymouth to Aberdeen and everywhere in between, these are played every Wednesday between universities and Higher Education colleges from September to April.

Across the London region, the London Universities Sports Leagues (LUSL) saw another successful season with 347 students competing in 60 teams with 135 fixtures played across the year in three different levels of competition: recreational, intermediate and competitive. The competitive players finished their season off at the multi-sport finals event, LUSL Fest, held at Royal Holloway University, with the hosts coming out on top in the Mixed Cup Competition.

2024 Champions

The top six men’s and women’s teams competed in the National League, including two ‘Super Weekends’ at Loughborough University and the National Tennis Centre. These showcase events bring the teams together to play two of their league fixtures across the weekend. Loughborough dominated the men’s competition, going unbeaten in the league, while the University of Nottingham took the women’s title.

In the Singles and Doubles National Championships, Nottingham dominated on the women’s side, primarily thanks to their powerhouse captain Rebeka Stolmar. Winning in both the singles and doubles competitions, while also going on to captain the side to victory in the team championships, Rebeka was named the University of Nottingham’s Athlete of the Year for 2023/24. Taking all three crowns across the women’s competitions is a first for BUCS tennis since the league’s inception in 2015/16.

On the men’s side, Stirling’s Liam Hignett, who recently won his first pro doubles title at the M25 Vic, won the singles title against Cambridge’s Patrick Foley. Stirling also took the title in the national team championships at Big BUCS Wednesday, beating Loughborough, though Loughborough got their revenge in the Men’s Doubles Championship, with Mike Shaw and Ryan Golesworthy beating Liam Hignett and Rob Cowley in a closely fought final at The Shrewsbury Club.

In the Wheelchair competition, Loughborough’s Abbie Breakwell won the Women’s Singles for a fourth year in a row, with Nottingham Trent’s James Shaw taking the Men’s Singles title for the first time. In the Men’s Wheelchair Doubles, Loughborough-based brothers Jacob and Joseph Court beat James Shaw and the University of Nottingham’s Lewis Evans in a nail-biting final that came down to a deciding match tie-break.

BUCS Doubles, Individuals & Wheelchair Championships have a rich history with previous champions including Team GB Billie Jean King Cup squad members Olivia Nicholls and Maia Lumsden, former Junior Wimbledon Singles Champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, former world No. 7 doubles player Lloyd Glasspool and GB World Team Cup players Abbie Breakwell and James Shaw.

2023/24 BUCS Champions

Women’s National League: University of Nottingham
Men’s National League: Loughborough University
Women’s National Championship: University of Nottingham
Men’s National Championship: University of Stirling
Women’s Singles Championship: Rebeka Stolmar, University of Nottingham
Men’s Singles Championship: Liam Hignett, University of Stirling
Women’s Doubles Championship: Rebeka Stolmar and Marie Mattel, University of Nottingham
Men’s Doubles Championship: Mike Shaw and Ryan Golesworthy, Loughborough University
Women’s Wheelchair Singles Championship: Abbie Breakwell, Loughborough University
Men’s Wheelchair Singles Championship: James Shaw, Nottingham Trent University
Men’s Wheelchair Doubles Championship: Jacob Court and Joseph Court, Loughborough University

International Programme

On the international stage, 2023 saw another impressive year for the GB Students team at the Master U BNP Paribas World University Tennis Championships, with the team achieving a historic silver medal after reaching the final against the USA. The medal is GB’s sixth in a row at the Championships and an eleventh consecutive medal at major international university events including the Summer World University Games.

A group of people dressed in dark blue tracksuits stood arm-in-arm with medal around their necks. There is a British flag on the wall behind them
The Great Britain squad for the 2023 Master'U BNP Paribas World University Tennis Championships that took place in December 2023 (Credit: Jack Hodgetts)

BUCS International Performance Manager, Marc Forrest said: “We are immensely proud of the GB Students team. The Master'U BNP Paribas World University Tennis Championships is a highly respected and prestigious event. To reach a consecutive final and to perform in the manner they did, is of huge credit to the talent, togetherness and resilience shown by all the players and staff. They have cemented their place within the history and continued success of British university tennis on the international stage."

Great Britain team captain and the LTA’s University Support Manager Alistair Higham commented on the team’s success: “We had great team spirit which brought us through some of the closest matches to win silver. Against Australia in the semi, after 11 hours of competing, it came down to two points in the final match tiebreak. We are delighted to win the silver medal.

“It’s great to see another great season working in partnership with BUCS as British university tennis goes from strength to strength.”

University Tennis

British university tennis continues to grow in the UK across all levels from recreational to international competition. Find out more by visiting our universities pages below or the BUCS website, or follow @BritUniTennis on Instagram to keep up to date with all things British university tennis.

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