A 91-YEAR-OLD Ayrshire tennis legend has won a top accolade at the annual Tennis Scotland awards.

Jan Collins, 91, of Troon scooped the prestigious lifetime achievement award which rewards individuals for displaying outstanding commitment and a lifetime of dedication to the sport.

The award is reserved for exceptional role models who have encouraged wide participation in tennis, and Jan has been honoured for his many contributions to growing the sport, including coaching at most primary schools in South Ayrshire between 1990 and 2008.

Steeped in a family of tennis tradition, the 91-year-old is the nephew of former Scottish tennis player Ian Glen Collins who reached multiple doubles and mixed doubles finals at Wimbledon in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Elsewhere, Prestwick resident Mark Openshaw, director of tennis at Giffnock Tennis Squash and Hockey Club, earned the title of performance coach of the year.

Ayr Advertiser: Mark OpenshawMark Openshaw

It was in recognition of his efforts to run a performance programme which supported the continued development of players throughout 2020 as tennis emerged from lockdown.

In total, 13 category winners have been selected to receive awards, in addition three special recognition awards to John Stevenson, Rick Gardner and John Frame as a distinction for serving the tennis community over a prolonged period.

The award winners were announced on Friday April 23 with a ceremony set to be held at a later date once coronavirus restrictions ease.

Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland chief executive, said: “The Tennis Scotland Awards provide the opportune platform to celebrate the hard work and commitment which was the driving force behind our sport’s progression in 2020, in face of the challenges posed by lockdown.

“We were privileged to witness such an outstanding standard of nominations and we are extremely proud of the contributions of the winners and nominees, alongside each individual who played a role in providing a safe and welcoming environment to play our sport last year.

“It feels more important than ever to acknowledge the drive and passion within our community which resulted in the continued growth of tennis in Scotland.”