The partnership between Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling was still in its infancy when they reached the Scottish Open semis last year and the former is confident even better is possible in 2017.
Maas and Tabeling’s first major tournament came at the Belgium Open in September 2016 and just a few short months later they were close to a first final appearance in Scotland.
Adam Hall and Peter Mills ended their run in Glasgow 12 months ago but the Dutch pair are determined to go further this time around.
A year of developing their partnership, on and off the court, is beginning to show shines of flourishing and Maas feels they’re not far away from clicking.
“It’s just over one year we have been together, I think we are doing well. Robin is a bit younger than (former partner Sebastiaan) Li but we are finding our rhythm,” he said.
“It’s quite easy to play with a different partner but to fine tune it and know exactly what they are thinking takes time. Sometimes it takes a year in the doubles so it’s been quite quick.
“Even after a year there are still parts of the game that need extra work but I think we are on the right path and doing the right things.”
After their strong run at the Scottish Open in 2016, Maas and Tabeling returned to Glasgow earlier this year but suffered a first-round World Championship exit to Or Chin Chung and Tang Chun Man.
But Maas, seventh seed in the men’s doubles, is holding on to the positive memories of 12 months ago and is determined to reach the final this time around.
“The Scottish Open was really good last year, we reached the semi-finals and had a decent run. It’s a big hall and the spectators are always around which is nice to play in.
“It’s the goal to get a step further - the final would be even better than a semi-final. The end goal, why you train so much, is to win tournaments.
“We play at such a high level you cannot always win but that’s why you train every day. It would be great to lift the trophy at the end.
“It’s going to be tough in Scotland, there are couples who are quite strong. There are always couples higher ranked but it’s not unreachable it’s tough.”
Maas will also compete in the mixed doubles competition in Glasgow with his partner Imke Van Der Aar while Tabeling plays with compatriot Cheryl Seinen.
AFTER coming so close last year, Robin Tabeling is confident he can finish among the medals at the 2017 Scottish Open Grand Prix.
The Dutch shuttler will once again team up with Jelle Maas in the men’s doubles, with the pair falling at the hands of British duo Adam Hall and Peter Mills in the 2016 semi-finals.
Tabeling was pleased with how he and Maas performed as a new partnership last year, and a further 12 months at learning each other’s game will only strengthen their cause this time around.
However, despite aiming high, he is under no illusion that they will face a tough task against some formidable pairings in Glasgow.
“It’s always a goal when you enter the tournament to lift the title,” said the 23-year-old. “Last year we had a good run, we proved we are in good shape.
“It was actually mine and Jelle’s first tournament last year so now we have more confidence and some better agreements.
“I’m hoping we can go quite far this time again, but the tournament this year is very strong in terms of European competition.
“I think there’s a chance [of winning] because the top eight in each discipline are fairly evenly matched – you can win them all, lose them all, it’s very tight.
“I think there is a chance, albeit not certain, that’s for sure.”
Tabeling is also in the draw for the mixed doubles alongside Cheryl Seinen, with the former hoping the duo can improve on their first-round exit 12 months ago.
Tabeling and Seinin have two BWF International Challenge silver medals under their belts as a pair, in the 2016 Irish Open and the Spanish International earlier this year.
The World Championships were held in the same location this summer, with Tabeling itching to take to the courts in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena once again.
“I’m looking forward to it – the World Championships were there and that event was amazing,” added the Dutchman.
“I’m convinced the Scottish Open will be as good as the worlds. It will be a little bit different, but that’s the nature. I love the venue and I’m looking forward to it.
“Last year, there was good noise from the stands and that motivates me with a bit of atmosphere this time too.
“Glasgow is a very bright city, it almost looks a bit ancient, and even though it was raining and cold there was plenty of people still going out and I like that in a city.
“We’re Dutch, we don’t mind rain!”
Beyond Glasgow, Tabeling has the European Championships in April in his sights, and is hoping to step up his participation even further.
“Last year, I only played doubles, but I’m hoping to go in both disciplines,” he added. “It’s hard to put real goal on it but it would be nice to get to the quarter-finals.
“If I could play for a medal, anything can happen, many players have proven that in the last few years.”