Karen Ross has been involved in tennis for most of her life having been a successful player before transitioning to a career in coaching. As coach to 2016 Wimbledon and Paralympic champion Gordon Reid she has enjoyed a remarkable year and her achievements have been recognised in recent weeks with a number of national awards.
Firstly she was honoured at the Scottish Women in Sport (SWiS) Awards. Eight awards were handed out to an elite line up of female athletes, coaches and staff with Karen receiving the McCrea Financial Services Coach of the Year award which was presented to her by SWiS supporter Judy Murray.
Earlier this week Karen, who is currently the Head of Disability Performance Coaching and Talent at the Tennis Foundation, was recognised at the sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards. At the event in Glasgow, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in swimming, diving, football, netball, tennis, gymnastics and badminton were rewarded for the many hours they dedicate to helping others participate and progress in sport - both in local communities and on the world stage.
Karen picked up the Disability Coach of the Year award, which was presented to her by Beijing Paralympian Kevin Simpson, whom Karen had coached during his career. World no.2 Reid, who trains under Karen’s tutelage at the Scottish National Tennis Centre, University of Stirling, spoke to sportscotland about her saying, “Karen has been with me throughout my entire journey, and we still work together every day now. She is over the moon for me and very proud of everything that I have achieved, but at the same time, I feel the same way about Karen.
"She has put a lot of hard work into getting me to where I am today, and she doesn’t often get the credit for everything she does behind the scenes. It’s great that now we can finally focus on Karen. I definitely wouldn’t be the player I am today without her.”
On receiving her award Karen said, “As I have always been so passionate about working with people with disabilities, I find my job so rewarding. I never really think of it as ‘work’ if I’m honest, it was more something I really wanted to do. I just want to help people be the best they can. I feel very honoured to be the named as the winner of the sportscotland ‘Disability Coach of the Year Award’. For me, I am very much in the background. My players get the success and I’m quietly proud, and that’s the way I like it.”
Lee Boucher, Tennis Scotland Interim Head of Performance said, “Behind every world class athlete is a world class coach and Karen thoroughly deserves this recognition for the significant role she has played in helping to support Gordon on his journey to the top of the world. Her passion, commitment and work ethic combined with her knowledge of the game make her an outstanding role model for other coaches working in tennis and across sport.”
Karen, who has also been awarded the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Coach of the Year award, has been named as a finalist at the UK Coaching Awards which are being hosted by sports coach UK in London next week. She is also currently preparing Gordon for the end-of-season NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters which are taking place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London from the 30 November – 4 December.
Photo: Karen alongside Kevin Simpson. With thanks to sportscotland for the image.