Iain Miller - winner of the 2018 Tennis Scotland Volunteer of the Year Award - has been a volunteer at the East Lothian Open for 20 years and will be at the heart of the action this weekend when 39 events take place, involving more than 450 competitors, 900+ matches, played over seven days in several venues.
Iain has volunteered at the East Lothian Open for 20 years and despite hanging up his Tournament Director racquet, he will again be heavily involved in organising this year’s event as part of the tournament committee.
“It has been incredible to watch the tournament grow from 130 competitors in 1999 to upwards of 500 over the last few years and to see so many local clubs involved, such as North Berwick, Dunbar, Gullane and Musselburgh,” he said.
“It really is such a joy for everyone on the committee, seeing players of all abilities and ages enjoying tennis in a fun, friendly and family atmosphere. The modern set up of the tournament means people from six to 80 will take part and that really is unique not just in Scotland but in tennis.
“It’s funny to think back to 20 years ago and seeing how far the tournament has evolved. All entries received once upon a time were done via pen and paper and physically handed in or posted - now it’s all fully digital and appeals to all generations. While the tournament has changed for the better digitally, the inclusivity of the game has also improved. We’ve gone from having only open & handicap senior events, to now hosting events for veterans & super veterans, wheelchair users, parents playing with their mini tennis children, and a full junior singles & doubles programme – you name it, we’ve got it. The East Lothian Open really is an event for everyone of all standards, with the spectators just as much a part of the tournament.
“The highlight of my time volunteering at this particular event is seeing both familiar faces return year and year again, while at the same time seeing the joy that players new to tennis get in competing. It’s always such a tremendous atmosphere and enjoyable time for all, enhanced hugely by the social side of the tournament, where each night there is a tournament event.
“Volunteering is hard work but it’s extremely satisfying – I take much more enjoyment from a week at the East Lothian Open than a year at work. Without the committee of volunteers, it would be impossible for the events to run not just smoothly but at all. The hours are tough, but they really are rewarding.”
The tournament will take place from Sunday 21 July to Saturday 27 July 2019 with competitions starting from eight and under.
For more information on Tennis Scotland please visit https://www3.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/scotland/or follow @tennisscotland on Twitter and Instagram.