A TOP tennis coach who started her career at Fort Matilda 27 years ago has returned home to give the next generation an advantage in the sport.

Stephanie Norris is the new head coach and tennis for Ardgowan and Fort Matilda clubs, as well as tennis development officer for the area.

The 31-year-old hails from Gourock and has coached players at county and Scotland level and is one of the only head female coaches in the country qualified to an advanced level.

She said: "The first day I walked into Fort Matilda brought back memories of me hitting a ball against the wall, when my brothers and dad would go off to play."

Stephanie was brought up in Rodney Road and started playing when she was only four years old, inspired by her parents Raymond and her late mum Elaine and brothers Campbell, who also recently passed away, and Raymond junior.

The former St Ninian's and Gourock High pupil, whose childhood heroes were Monica Seles and Andre Agassi, went on to complete a sports management degree at Glasgow Caledonian University.

During her studies Stephanie coached at Strathgryffe Tennis Club in Houston and spent a year working in Australia before moving to Giffnock, where she was head coach for six years.

On her new post, Stephanie said: "This job is to grow the programme and when people come try to get them to come all the time - and not just in the two weeks when Murray Mania hits Wimbledon.

"I want to get the clubs back as busy as I remember when I was younger

"There are preconceived notions that tennis is expensive but it is only £30 a year membership for a five-17 year-old and tennis is something that the whole family can play together."

Stephanie is looking forward to working with local schools and nurseries and has also run cardio tennis taster sessions which are proving popular.

She is also offering Easter and Summer camps at both local clubs.

It's also going to be a busy year personally for Stephanie, who has seven-month-old daughter named Hope, as she prepares to tie the knot with her fiance William in August.

She said: "In the next six months, I will be planning a wedding, raising a bairn and developing a tennis programme."