Defending champions GB set for Master ‘U university tennis tournament

Defending champions GB set for Master ‘U university tennis tournament

Six university students have been selected to represent Great Britain at this month’s Master ‘U BNP Paribas event in France, the world’s biggest annual university tennis team tournament. The event, which will be held from 29th November to 2nd December in Grenoble, France, will showcase British university tennis on a world stage as team GB look to defend the historic title they won for the first time last year.

Great Britain will once again be taking on some of the best university tennis players in the world as teams from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the USA are all set to compete.

The GB players tasked with defending the title are: Manisha Foster, Laura Sainsbury (both University of Nottingham), Maia Lumsden (University of Stirling), Jack Findel-Hawkins (University of North Florida), Isaac Stoute (University of Sussex) and Ben Jones (University of Bath). Jones was called up to the team to replace University of Stirling’s Scott Duncan who has withdrawn due to injury.

The team selected by BUCS (British Universities & College Sport), will be managed by the Tennis Foundation’s Universities Manager, Alistair Higham, alongside University of Bath’s Barry Solo (Team Coach) and Julie Blackwood (Team Psychologist).

Prior to 2017, Great Britain had never reached the final at the tournament. Lumsden, Duncan and Findel-Hawkins were part of the team which pulled off a 4-2 victory over the defending champions USA last December, after beating China 7-0 in the semi-final.

2017 GB Team

Also part of the GB university team last year was Jonny O’Mara, who has since gone on to be part of the GB David Cup team and is now ranked 63rd in the world for doubles.

Team manager Higham is now targeting an eighth major championship medal in the last four years to build on 2017’s triumph and add to recent success for Britain in the World Student Games.

“We’re really looking forward to being back at the Master’ U BNP Paribas in Grenoble as defending Champions. The great team spirit that enabled us to win last year, is a strength of ours and it’s representative of the wider team feel within university tennis in Britain.”

British universities are playing an increasingly important role in the development of talented players and becoming a genuine platform for playing professional tennis. Success such as last year’s Master’U win have demonstrated the level of players in the system is the best it has ever been, while significant investment has seen facilities, programmes and support provided transformed to be among the very best around.

Player Profiles

Jack Findel-Hawkins Jack Findel-Hawkins
University: University of North Florida
Course: Sport Management BSc
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Devon)
World Ranking (Current): 797 (singles); 755 (doubles)
World Ranking (Career High): 797 – current (singles); 755 – current (doubles)
Career Highlights: Semifinalist ITF Shrewsbury $25,000 men’s singles and doubles, Semifinalist ITF Memphis $25,000 men’s singles, GB University Student Team gold medal at Master’U BNP Paribas 2017, World University Games 2017 Silver Medal
Quote: “Really honored to have been selected to represent GB for the BNP Master’ U event this year. I’m really excited to go out there and compete with the team and try to keep our crown after claiming the title last year. The Master’ U is such a fantastically unique event and I can’t wait for it to get started!”

Ben Jones
University: University of Bath
Course: Chemistry
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Suffolk)
World Ranking (Current): 1994 (singles); 989 (doubles)
World Ranking (Career High):
 1867 – Sept-18 (singles); 989 – current (doubles)
Career Highlights: BUCS Individual Championships 2018 Doubles Gold, Singles Bronze medalist; Runner-up ITF Ireland $25,000 men’s doubles

Isaac Stoute
University: University of Sussex Isaac Stoute
Course: Economics and Finance BSc
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Kent)
World Ranking (Current): 859 (singles); 924 (doubles)
World Ranking (Career High): 846 – Aug-18 (singles); 924 – current (doubles)
Career Highlights: Quarterfinalist Loughborough Trophy ATP Challenger 2018 doubles, finalist BUCS Nationals Singles Championship
Quote: “I am really excited to compete in the Masters U’ BNP Paribas event for the first time. Tennis is an individual sport so this competition provides a refreshing change of pace as we get to compete as part of a team. Representing GB has always been a dream of mine, so I consider being selected to represent British University tennis a great honour!”

Maia Lumsden
University: University of Stirling Maia Lumsden
Course: Sport Studies BSc
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Scotland West)
World Ranking (Current): 368 (singles); 527 (doubles)
World Ranking (Career High): – 368 – current (singles) 514 – Nov-17 (doubles
Career Highlights: GB University Student Team gold medal at Master’U BNP Paribas 2017, Lille
Quote: “I’m really looking forward to the event; there was an awesome atmosphere last year and amazing feeling to win Gold. The organisers put on a really enjoyable event and it was great to play in front of good crowd in the final.”

Manisha Foster
University: University of Nottingham
Course: Physiotherapy BSc Manisha Foster
LTA Rating (home county): 1.2 (Warwickshire)
World Ranking (Current): None (singles & doubles)
World Ranking (Career High): 635 – Nov-14 (singles); 860 – Jan-15 (doubles)
Career Highlights: Winner $15,000 Obidos 2017 doubles
Quote: “Playing for the University of Nottingham tennis team has been a great experience so far and I’m really enjoying it! To also have the opportunity to play for Great Britain is amazing and I’m excited to play!”

Laura Sainsbury
University: University of Nottingham
Course: Physiotherapy Laura Sainsbury
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Avon)
World Ranking (Current): None (singles); 973 (doubles)
World Ranking (Career High): 818 – May-17 (singles); 754 – May-17 (doubles)
Career Highlights: WTA career high singles 818, doubles 754
Quote: “The biggest enjoyment of my university tennis experience with Nottingham has been playing an individual sport that I love, but in a close team environment. I’m excited to take this to France to perform internationally, as a part of team GB!”

Scott Duncan (withdrawn)
University: University of Stirling Scott Duncan
Course: Psychology of Sport MSc
LTA Rating (home county): 1.1 (Scotland East)
World Ranking (Current): 436 (doubles); 1544 (singles)
World Ranking (Career High):
424 – Oct-18 (doubles); 1522 – Oct-18 (singles)
Career Highlights: GB University Student Team gold medal at Master’U BNP Paribas 2017, Lille
Quote: “I’ve loved playing university tennis for the University of Stirling! Being picked last year to represent Great Britain and winning a Gold medal was something I’m never going to forget! I’m delighted to have been picked again this year and I can’t wait to join the team and get going!”

To find out more about British university tennis, click here.