Here's a time and a place for having fun on the tennis court and Ali Collins hopes this weekend will provide both. 

The Scot has enjoyed a productive year as she and doubles partner, Freya Christie, edge closer to breaking into the top 100 in the world, a run that included a wildcard appearance at Wimbledon.

The tennis calendar never really stops, with tournaments taking place all around the world, 12 months a year, something that can be draining at times both physically and mentally. 

The chance, then, to play not too far from her Dunblane home in a tournament where the focus will be more on putting on a show and less on winning comes as something of a welcome relief. 

The event is the Brodies Tennis Invitational at the EICC in Edinburgh featuring rising prospects such as Collins, Christie and Aidan McHugh alongside recently retired former leading lights including Mark Philippoussis, Xavier Malisse, Marcos Baghdatis, Jo Konta and Laura Robson. 

It is Collins’ first experience of a tournament of this nature and it’s one she’s looking forward to, especially the chance to team up with Baghdatis to take on Christie and Greg Rusedski in what she hopes will be an entertaining mixed doubles clash.

"It’s an amazing opportunity to compete in Scotland as it doesn’t happen very often,” says the 23-year-old. “I’ve not really done an event like Brodies before where it’s like an exhibition so I think it will be a lot of fun. Well, I’m certainly hoping it’s going to be more fun than competitive!

“Everyone will want to do well and play their best tennis I’m sure but it’s more about putting on a good show and having a bit of a laugh. 

“It’s mostly people who you don’t see out on the circuit as a lot of them have retired now so it’s a great opportunity to spend some time with them and ask questions and pick up some advice, too. 

“I’ve seen the fixtures and it’s a good mixture. They’ve labelled Freya and I against Jo and Laura as Scotland vs England so Freya is going to become an adopted Scot for the weekend! She’s spent so much time with me lately that she probably feels half-Scottish already.

“I then play against her which will be weird as I’m not used to seeing Freya on the other side of the net. But I’m really looking forward to playing with Marcos. I used to look up to him when I was younger. I loved how he carried himself on the court with a big personality.

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“It was always nice to watch players having fun and putting a bit of character into their tennis. That’s not always easy when you’re playing competitive tennis and desperate to win but when I can I try to express myself too. 

“I’m quite a fiery, loud personality so I try to get that side of me out on court. There are definitely times and places to do that so hopefully this weekend lets those of us still active on the tour let our hair down a little bit.”

The serious stuff will start again soon enough for Collins and Christie as they look to break into that top 100 and stake a regular claim for spots at all the grand slams. 

“The tennis schedule goes all year round so we’ll be playing right up until December,” adds the Scot whose dad, Lee, is a former professional footballer. “I’ve been trying not to put too much emphasis on making the top 100 as we’re so close but it would be a massive milestone if we could achieve it so we’ll be pushing as hard as we can. 

“We don’t have specific tournaments lined up yet for the rest of the year as we usually have to wait until the week before to see the deadlines but we’ll be looking to access the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] events and if not we’ll dip into a few ITFs [International Tennis Federation] as well.

“It would make life easier if we could plan more in advance but you just get used to it as a tennis player. A lot of the job is booking things at the very last minute. I reckon I’d make a pretty good travel agent!

“Playing at Wimbledon for the first time as a senior player was a special moment as that had been one of my main goals so I’m very proud that I was able to do that. The dream is to be playing at all the major events on a regular basis so that’s something we’re going to keep striving for.”