Bearsden tennis starlet McHugh on form going into Australian Open

Aidan and coach Toby Smith after his fine run to the final of the Australian Open warm-up event.
Aidan and coach Toby Smith after his fine run to the final of the Australian Open warm-up event.

Andy Murray may be missing this year’s Australian Open - but one Bearsden teenager aims to keep the Scots flag flying Down Under.

Aidan McHugh is playing in the Grand Slam event’s Junior Singles which gets under way this Saturday.

And as he recovers from his recent hip operation, Murray will certainly be keeping an eye on Aidan’s progress.

The 17-year-old is heading to Melbourne bang in form after a terrific run to the final of this week's warm-up event, the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International.

McHugh, currently ranked number 27 in the world, opened up with a 6-0 6-1 win over Australia’s Campbell Salmon and then defeated Turkey’s Yanki Erel 6-3 2-6 6-4.

Next up was world number six Chun Hsin Tseng of Taipei, but Aidan again rose to the occasion, winning 7-6 6-2.

He then won the first set of his quarter-final 6-4 against Daniel Michalski before the Polish player retired. And in the semi-final Aidan came from behind to defeat Serbia’s Marko Miladinovic 4-6 6-4 6-2.

His run ended in the final with a 6-1 6-1 loss to impressive world number five Hugo Gaston of France.

But his coach Toby Smith is delighted with the youngster's strong showing Down Under.

He told Herald Sport: "It was not to be, but he was beaten by an incredible performance from Hugo Gaston.

"That said it has been an impressive week from Aidy and there have been significant improvements."

Former world number one Murray has become something of a mentor to McHugh, regularly setting aside practice sessions for him both in the UK and at his winter base in Florida.

He also made him one of his first signings for his Andy Murray ‘77 Sports Management Company.

Melbourne will see McHugh playing in his second Junior Grand Slam tournament after reaching the third round at last year’s Junior Wimbledon, coincidentally beating Miladinovic on the way.

As well as Murray, Tennis Scotland National coach Colin Fleming is also keeping a close eye on Aidan’s progress in Australia.

He said: “It’s great to see Aidan starting the year so well as I know the commitment and hard work he has put into his tennis over the last few months.

“Hopefully he is able to go take the good form and confidence from Traralgon into the Australian Open Juniors.”