Newquay's Tad Maclean, a member of Ace Tennis Academy based at the Heron Tennis Centre, travelled to Nottingham last week to compete in the Under 16 National Tennis Championships.
Tad, who just turned 16, is ranked number 30 in the UK and number 1 in Cornwall in his age group. He has been competing around the country in junior and adult events in recent years. Notable successes in 2015 include winning the Torbay Open Under 16 Singles and reaching the Final Stages of the Road to Wimbledon Singles event. However, this was Tad's debut in the National Championships as he competed in both the singles and doubles events held in Nottingham.
Tad has an all-round game style meaning he can easily adapt to all playing surfaces and can switch between singles and doubles, two very different forms of tennis. Although Tad has an increasingly powerful serve, he was not able to get through his first round match in the singles draw. In the doubles event, Tad partnered Berkshire's Oliver Okonkwo as they beat the number 2 seeds along the way to reaching the final. In the final, they lost by 2 points in the deciding set to Louis Allen and Liam Hignett with the score finishing 6-2, 6-7, 8-10 in the deciding tie-break.
Qualifying for the National Championships is an achievement in itself as Steven Askey, Director of Coaching at the Heron Tennis Centre and Tad's coach since the age of 7, explains:
"It is outstanding for Tad to reach the Nationals with only the top 32 players in the singles draw. To then go on make a final and only narrowly lose is an achievement he should be very, very chuffed with!"
Steven went on to say that Tad was Heron and Ace Academy's third player to reach the Nationals and added:
"From a young age, Tad has shown a maturity and mentality beyond his years. His mother has been a huge part of shaping Tad's unspoilt mindset, which is standing him in such good stead for his future tennis, studies and life. Tad has developed a love for the game over the years growing up in Heron's 'club atmosphere.' He would hit on the wall, have coaching before school, would cycle to Heron and would hit with anybody he could find to play with him. Tad was put into Heron's adult teams and would play doubles with adults from a young age, giving him experiences which have been invaluable for his tennis development and understanding. Also, Tad has helped some of our younger players over the years by hitting with them and inspired them. We are very proud of Tad, both as a tennis player and as being a very decent young person!
Steven finished by saying: "We believe Tad has the potential to progress to play pro tennis if he 'wants it badly enough'. Tad knows it won't be easy, he knows we think he can do it, and he knows everyone at Heron and Ace support him!"
Cindy Maclean is a very proud mother and said: "I am so pleased for and proud of Tad doing so well at the Nationals. It has come through his own grit, tenacity and determination to succeed as he has juggled GCSE revision with tennis. For several years now he has been organising tournaments, planning where to stay and travelling (sometimes alone) in order to compete at a higher level. Tad’s ability to overcome setbacks is phenomenal and I respect him for that."
Cindy finished by thanking everyone at Heron for their support over the years, his teachers at Tretherras School, his sponsors and his family and friends who have given him a place to stay on his travels!