Plenty of Scots face a sizeable challenge at the Scottish Open but Ciar Pringle and Jack MacGregor arguably have the toughest draw of all the homegrown players.
They will face England’s Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, Commonwealth Games gold medallists and number one seeds, in the opening round of the men’s doubles.
The Scottish teenagers will be looking to upset the odds against Great Britain’s top ranked men’s pair, who also took home bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
It will be the first time either of the youngsters has faced the duo from England, as they do battle in round one at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
Excited for the challenge ahead
While MacGregor admits an upset is unlikely, he hopes the pair will be able to learn from their top-level opponents.
“I’m excited to have a chance to gauge where I am against those kind of players,” he said.
“They are the top British pair and that’s the kind of level we want to reach. We are in front of our home crowd so I’m hoping we don’t do too badly.
“I’m not expecting anything huge because we are so young. I just want to beat them on some points, put in a good performance and provide a challenge to them.”
Pringle, 19, can’t help but agree with his partner. “It’s a really tough draw for us but it’s exciting to be going against players at that level," he said.
“The match will help me gauge where I am with my game when we go against them.
“I’ve obviously seen them play and it’s going to be a great experience going against two players who are at such a high level.”
Pringle feels he and MacGregor have a strong partnership, which they started building at last year’s Scottish Open.
“We’ve developed a good relationship and we help to push each other,” Pringle said. “It is helping us improve as a pair and as individuals.”
MacGregor added: “It’s about working as a partnership, we enjoy playing together and I think we could give people a bit of a shock.”
Experience key for Grimleys
There is also an exciting draw in the men’s doubles for fellow Scots Christopher and Matthew Grimley, who face former Scottish Open champion Richard Eidestedt and his partner Peter Kaesbauer.
Eidestedt won the title in 2008 while representing England, although he currently plays for Sweden while his partner represents Germany.
And Matthew, 18, is excited for the tournament, saying: “I’ve felt that we have been performing well this season so far and I’m really looking forward to the Scottish Open this year.
“All games will be tough for us so we are hoping to get some good games and experience out of it."
Christopher added: “In doubles, our goal is to win our first game in the main draw, it will be tough against an older and experienced pair but we will try our best.”
Three pairs featuring Scottish players are also in the qualifying tournament for the men’s doubles.
Joshua Apiliga and Adam Pringle will be hoping to advance through all three rounds to make the main tournament, as will Matthew Carder and Danny Leinster.
Meanwhile, Jordan Edgar is playing alongside Englishman Matt Law as he also looks to qualify.
Testing ties in the men's singles
Elsewhere, MacGregor will take part in the men’s singles qualifying rounds, with Christopher Grimley also in action, as both target individual success.
MacGregor will be looking to upset Wolfgang Gnedt, from Austria, who is 220th in the world rankings.
Grimley, who featured at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last month, also has a tough draw against 22-year-old German Max Weisskirchen.
"I'm feeling good leading up to the Scottish Open, I have been busy recently competing and travelling a lot but I'm excited to get started at the Emirates in front of a home crowd which is always amazing,” he said.
"My goal for the singles is to get through qualification and get to the main draw to get the experience to compete against the best singles players in the tournament.”
MacGregor is also relishing the chance to show what he can do on the big stage in front of the home crowd.
“You get energy from those people watching in the crowd,” he said. “I love the chance of playing in front of a home crowd.”
There will also be high hopes for Ben Torrance, 24, to make it out of the qualifying tournament as he faces Johnnie Torjussen, from England, while Carder earns a place directly in the main draw where world No.113 Luka Wraber from Austria awaits in round one.
Wealth of Scots in mixed doubles
There are five pairs with Scottish involvement in the mixed doubles.
Top Scottish duos Alex Dunn and Eleanor O'Donnell and Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson are both in round one of the mixed doubles – the latter facing Nyl Yakura and Kristen Tsai of Canada.
Matthew Grimley and Ciara Torrance are hoping to join them by getting through qualifying, where they face Joel Eipe and Mette Poulsen from Denmark in round one.
Basia Grodynska will play alongside Martin Drabble from England in the qualifiers while MacGregor will feature alongside Ong Ren-ne, from Singapore.
Potential upsets in women's doubles
Meanwhile, O’Donnell and Torrance will lead the Scottish hopes in the women’s doubles against England’s Evie Burbidge and Zoe King.
Should they progress from the first round, they face a potential second round clash against reigning champions Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen – the Dutch pair seeded second for the tournament
There are also a further three Scottish pairs in the qualifying tournament for the women's doubles.
Julie MacPherson and Holly Newall will be looking to beat English pair Hannah Boden and Amy Hayhoe as they try to make it through.
Brittany Ashton and Grodynska will be hoping to qualify, as will the final Scottish pair of Lauren Middleton and Sarah Sidebottom.
Tickets are on sale now
The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
For more information contact Peter Dean on 0141 445 1218 or email email@example.com