10 year old Natalie lives on the Costa del Sol with her mother and father Audrey and Colin Syme. In April last year she started a rigorous morning and afternoon tennis training regime with coach Daniel Marco at the Marco Tennis Academy in Elviria, near the Don Carlos hotel in Marbella.

Three times a week Natalie works out with a fitness instructor who does conditioning with the other young players at the club as well as other older tennis players and football teams on the Costa del Sol. Her schedule also includes time with her Dad who just loves to be on the court with Natalie, hitting balls and giving her extra serving practice and returns. Natalie’s Mum also plays her part helping with mind skills, setting short-term and long-term goals and positive thinking.

Asked about what she liked best about living in Spain, Natalie replied “The weather.” On the downside? “The people drive dangerously and don’t smile in the shops.”

Patriotic Natalie remembers her home town Dundee in Scotland fondly, “Yes, I miss the streets, the weather, I like the rain in Dundee and I miss my family.”

Competing locally in Spain and regularly taking part in tennis coaching clinics in Scotland and Britain Natalie frequently travels into Europe to participate in tournaments. Natalie is monitored by Tennis Scotland, where she is invited back for clinics at Gannochy Tennis Centre in Stirling, Scotland, the Scottish National Tennis Centre and sometimes other LTA tennis academies in the UK like the Nottingham Tennis Academy and the Loughborough Tennis Academy.

Her latest triumph includes being selected to play for the Scotland Under 12 team against Norway in the Holmen’s Tennis Tournament in Oslo on March 8th this year

Ex-professional coach Daniel Marco thinks Natalie has benefited from full-time training, starting in the morning when she is fresh and focused. Natalie herself said recently that there is nothing better she likes than getting up in the morning to play tennis.

As if Natalie’s day wasn’t demanding enough, she also fits in a daily two hour morning school work session at Angela’s School in Marbella, a small teaching centre which specializes in schooling continuity for students studying away from home and intensive English teaching for foreign students entering the international schools on the Costa del Sol.

Highly experienced teacher Angela says that Natalie approaches her school lessons in maths and English with an unusual determination and focus for someone of her age. If she brings the same attitude to bear on the tennis court, there is no doubt that she is going to go far.

How far does Natalie want to go? “I would like to play in the US Open.” replies Natalie simply.


  1. Hi Martin

    Thank you very much for doing all that research and sharing it with other Costa del Sol tennis players.

    I have written to the email address you supplied and as soon as I get any more information I'll put it up here.

    I hope with all the tennis playing and walking you are doing you are getting nearer to or are maintaining the level of fitness you are aiming at.

    By the way Natalie Syme who started all this, popped in to see us recently which was a very nice surprise.

    Best wishes Martin and thanks again.


  2. Hi Mike.

    The Town Hall in San Pedro were not too helpful – but there are now some refurbished tennis courts near me in La Campana village which seem now to be managed by a local tenis club. A local shop holds the keys. If anyone in Nueva Andalucia is interested they have a phone number 657 38 69 15 Thank you Regards


  3. Hi Martin, thank you very much for writing back. Every couple of days I think "Ooh, I must check on the tennis information!"

    My trusty motorbike has been out of action for some weeks which is what I have been missing to get me over to San Pedro. I like getting the inside story on things though and will follow through. I'm away from tomorrow to the 25th of May and when I get back I'll be onto it. I hope that won't be too late for you.

    I'm glad the bus information has been useful over the years and thank you very much for visiting and supporting Marbella for so long.

    Until soon, best wishes and thanks for your contact Martin.


  4. Hi Mike.
    I have a spanish friend trying to find out from the town Hall in San Pedro, but he (as a San Pedro resident of some experience)is not confident that the Town hall will have anything. If I get any info I will let you know.

    Thank you for all you do and your efforts with the site and blog. I've been coming regularly to Marbella, for the last 24 years, but may Spanish is still too poor for the detailed enquiries and your site is invaluable for getting around by bus etc.

  5. Hi Martin

    Thank you very much for writing in. You've got me in no man's land though. I'll need to do some research for you and I'll need to think of a place to start.

    My wife used to play tennis in Marbella in just the same way when we first got here, someone would turn up with a book of tickets and sometimes not. Everything used to be very casual in those days. Some things still are!

    I'll find out for you next week though. Please check back on this page in a a few days. Lovely weather for tennis right now isn't it?

    Best wishes Martin and thanks again for your contact.


  6. Hi Mike. I am posting this comment here only because my question relates to tennis. Over the years I used to come and play quite a bit of tennis and some of the local municipal tennis courts, there were at least two or three near me in la campana and at the school between la Campana and San Pedro. It was usually just a matter of just turning up and accasionally someone came round with his leather back and book of tickets. A couple of the courts are now dilapidated and overgrown (probably because of local finance0 but there are the some courts in the recreation centre which was built a few years ago next to the river between La campana and San Pedro.

    Not for want of trying I have been unable to find out where an when yiou can pay and use these courts. there is a little office nearby that sells tickets but it is very often closed directing to the main Town Hall in San Pedro, Which is at least a bus ride away.

    I was wondering whether there was any website or local magazine that gives details of such local activities and where one can pay for them etc. its often not clear which ones are municipal and which private.

    We started using a court which was always open and unused near rafas Bar on the east side of San Pedo Beach but when we went last time it was padlocked and someone said it is owned by the comunity of residents there (although noone ever uses it)

    It you can help I would be obliged.




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