A DOLLAR teenager who won a prestigious tennis award insists seeing the smile on the younger players means more than any award ever could.

Emma Howat recently won Young Person of the Year at the Tennis Scotland Awards 2022.

The awards celebrate the outstanding individuals, clubs, programmes and competitions that made a significant contribution to tennis in 2021 by helping to create an accessible and welcoming environment which supported 8,000 incoming club members across the nation.

Emma was announced as the winner on Friday, April 29 and will be invited to an awards ceremony to be held for recent winners at the Davis Cup in September.

The 19-year-old, who coaches at Dollar Tennis Club, told the Advertiser: “[I was] pretty chuffed, I was pretty excited.

“I got an email a week before they announced it online so, yeah, big smile on my face.”

Emma only plays maybe once a week with the club and spends most of her time coaching and volunteering with the younger members.

She was quite involved with skiing but got involved with tennis during the pandemic.

Emma continued: “I done my coaching qualifications [but] it was probably more because of Covid. When everything shut down I was quite involved with the ski centre as well so when all of that stopped I found myself at the tennis club a lot.

“I enjoy doing what I do, playing with the kids and seeing them having fun.

“I tried it and really enjoyed seeing the kids improving, getting more enthusiasm because they’re getting more competitions and just kept going."

Emma, who just celebrated her 19th birthday, is currently preparing to go to university to study civil engineering.

For now, her hopes for the club are for more younger people across Clacks to get involved.

She said: “Most of the players are from around Dollar, Muckhart and some from Tillicoultry.

“We don’t really have anyone from [places like] Alloa, Menstrie or Tullibody so if we could get some kids from those areas playing that would be brilliant.”

Despite winning the award, Emma insists the satisfaction she gets from her volunteering role means more than the award.

“That means so much more than any award ever could,” she continued. “Seeing kids that were maybe a bit quieter to begin with enjoy the sport, make new friends, improve at the sport and becoming more confident just means so much more than any award ever could.”

Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland chief executive, said: “I would like to congratulate each of the winners of this year’s Tennis Scotland Awards, alongside everyone who stepped up and played their part in continuing to grow our sport by facilitating welcoming tennis environments all over the country.”

“As the governing body, it gave us great pleasure to witness a plethora of Scottish success stories across the year, on a national and international level.”