10 year old Natalie lives on the Costa del Sol with her mother and father Audrey and Colin Syme. In April last year she started a rigorous morning and afternoon tennis training regime with coach Daniel Marco at the Marco Tennis Academy in Elviria, near the Don Carlos hotel in Marbella.
Three times a week Natalie works out with a fitness instructor who does conditioning with the other young players at the club as well as other older tennis players and football teams on the Costa del Sol. Her schedule also includes time with her Dad who just loves to be on the court with Natalie, hitting balls and giving her extra serving practice and returns. Natalie’s Mum also plays her part helping with mind skills, setting short-term and long-term goals and positive thinking.
Asked about what she liked best about living in Spain, Natalie replied “The weather.” On the downside? “The people drive dangerously and don’t smile in the shops.”
Patriotic Natalie remembers her home town Dundee in Scotland fondly, “Yes, I miss the streets, the weather, I like the rain in Dundee and I miss my family.”
Competing locally in Spain and regularly taking part in tennis coaching clinics in Scotland and Britain Natalie frequently travels into Europe to participate in tournaments. Natalie is monitored by Tennis Scotland, where she is invited back for clinics at Gannochy Tennis Centre in Stirling, Scotland, the Scottish National Tennis Centre and sometimes other LTA tennis academies in the UK like the Nottingham Tennis Academy and the Loughborough Tennis Academy.
Her latest triumph includes being selected to play for the Scotland Under 12 team against Norway in the Holmen’s Tennis Tournament in Oslo on March 8th this year
Ex-professional coach Daniel Marco thinks Natalie has benefited from full-time training, starting in the morning when she is fresh and focused. Natalie herself said recently that there is nothing better she likes than getting up in the morning to play tennis.
As if Natalie’s day wasn’t demanding enough, she also fits in a daily two hour morning school work session at Angela’s School in Marbella, a small teaching centre which specializes in schooling continuity for students studying away from home and intensive English teaching for foreign students entering the international schools on the Costa del Sol.
Highly experienced teacher Angela says that Natalie approaches her school lessons in maths and English with an unusual determination and focus for someone of her age. If she brings the same attitude to bear on the tennis court, there is no doubt that she is going to go far.
How far does Natalie want to go? “I would like to play in the US Open.” replies Natalie simply.