Tell us about how you first started in badminton?
My entire family have always played, my brother has always played. I used to play tennis and was pretty good actually. But Dan Travers (national coach and former gold medallist) who is now in a senior position at Badminton Scotland noticed me. I was just having a hit with my dad at one of my brother’s tournaments. Dan came up and said, ‘have you ever thought about giving badminton a go?’ To be honest at that point I never really had! But once the thought was in my head, I just saw myself more as a badminton player. So, Dan played a big part really.
As you can imagine my mum was like ‘oh no! Not another one’. I was kind of late starting, by comparison, it wasn’t until I was 12 when I properly started playing. But obviously I had some good co-ordination through tennis and other racket sports, I took to it quickly. I joined the school squad when I was going into my third year and just progressed from there really.
You’ve just out of quite a long training block before a run of tournaments, so how is training going at the moment?
It’s going really well actually. I think quite a lot of things in my game that I have been working on recently, are coming together nicely. So it’s been good to focus on my game. We had a really long block of tournaments at the back end of last year, just before Christmas. So I have re-focused for a couple of months, away from the pressure of competitions, which should benefit me going into this busy period.
And congratulations on another Scottish National Championship – how did you find that?
That was really good. That is the third time Julie and I have won in the doubles, but you never take these titles for granted. When I was younger, I always thought of getting a senior national title as that first stepping-stone and to move onto bigger things. So it’s nice to have that under my belt.
How will your 2022 season take shape?
Starting this week we have four big tournaments in a row, including the All England Open, which I used to go down and watch when I was a kid, so it’s always a bit mad to me that I’m now playing in it. The school would take a group of us down to watch it. We’d stay for three days and watch as much as we could. It was crazy watching all these badminton legends play and asking them for autographs and t-shirts etc. It’s just a great feeling for me to know that I am playing in and competing in tournaments like that, because that is what I used to dream about – it’s come full circle. The Swiss Open is another big one for me, and then once we’re back into training for a shorter block before the European Championships in Finland, so everything is coming thick and fast over the next few months.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
That was in June last year when Julie (MacPherson) and I reached the final of the Belgium international. That was probably our best result to date, and we had to come through some really difficult matches to get there as well. But the experience of getting to that final and playing as we did, that tournament was definitely one to be proud of. Obviously, I’m still young and there’s lots more I want to achieve in our game, but up to this point that was a definite highlight.
What do you like to do away from badminton, how do you switch-off when off the court?
It sounds simple but I just love going for coffees with friends – spending time with family and friends really helps me. When you’re hanging out with people you don’t need to talk badminton with, it gives you that escape. We’re a really close-knit team at Scotland now, and it’s great to be part of that because it means you can go to others and talk things through if you’re struggling. The whole team is such a great support network.
How did you become a doubles specialist?
I didn’t give it too much through when I was younger because obviously when everyone starts off, they tend to play singles. I think when I was at under-17 level, I knew that I was edging towards the doubles more because I enjoyed it and felt like I understood it more.
What are your goals for the next few months?
I’m looking for solid improvements across all tournaments, obviously that ties into knowing in training what we need to work on and improve in our game. The big event of the year is the Commonwealth Games, and everyone wants to win medals there. But we’re currently working hard to make sure we are in a position to do that.
What do you hope to achieve in the game over the next five years?
The next couple of years are going to be big for me, it’s hard to look beyond that, but getting a Commonwealth Games medal, preferably gold, is a big goal for me. I think that will give me a platform to push the top 20, or even the top 15, in the world after that. Eventually I want to be looking at top ten and pushing on to win the big tour titles. I’ve also got one eye on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, which will be here before you know it.