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First Scottish indoor title shows dual approach is working for Strachan

Heriot-Watt and Winning Students tennis scholar, Bruce Strachan, is finding the right balance on and off the court

Heriot-Watt and Winning Students tennis scholar, Bruce Strachan, is finding the right balance on and off the court

15 February 2017

Heriot-Watt University’s Bruce Strachan believes his tennis is as good as when he was a full time competitor after becoming Scottish Indoor champion for the first time this week. 

At the Newlands club in Glasgow the Aberdeen 23-year-old beat University of Stirling’s Scott MacAulay 6-1 6-1 in the final, following up his equally convincing 6-0 6-2 semi-final win against Douglas Macintosh.

“The scorelines looked quite easy on paper but I think they were definitely closer contests in reality,” admitted a delighted Strachan afterwards.

“But I played well and I was serving well all week.  That made things a bit easier and meant I could try and relax and break serve knowing I could comfortably hold mine.

 “Looking at the trophy now there are some good names on there so I’m really happy to win this for the first time.” 

Having achieved his highest world ranking of 1154 in 2014 Strachan decided a change was needed and began a full time MEng Chemical Engineering degree whilst playing tennis alongside.  It’s a two pronged approach to life which is clearly paying off.

“Although I’m not training as much as I used to I’m able to enjoy it a bit more and I’m not as worried about the outcome as I was when I was full time,” he explained.

“I’m probably on par with the level I was when I was a full time player.  Maybe I need to keep my fitness in check but I’ve got a bit of time this summer to focus on that.”

Strachan is one of 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarship programme for student athletes. 

Through the programme he receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies. 

Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively. 

“I chose Heriot-Watt because they have a good engineering school and I fancied living in Edinburgh,” said Strachan, who believes he can make progress in world ranking events. 

“The scholarship team are really helpful with academic flexibility, which I used this week to play here. And I couldn’t do it without the financial help from Winning Students.

“This degree is five years and I’ve probably got a few weeks in the summer to play tournaments, whereas a full time player would play 30 competitions a year. 

“But definitely a point or two on the board would be a good goal for the summer and that would help me get into some of the events as well, to get straight into qualifying and maybe sneak in the main draw. 

“So I’ll look to play some ITF Futures events abroad this summer and try my luck there.”