Lynsey McCullough has tasted the demanding life of the National Academy in Dublin and believes it can be a breeding ground for top players in the future.
But after three years she decided that it was no longer for her and having returned north the 18-year-old is now playing the best tennis of her career.
Having made her Federation Cup debut for Ireland last month, McCullough is determined to continue her progress and return for international duty next season.
At last night's Febvre Wines Ulster Open championships, McCullough breezed through to the semi-finals after a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory over former champion Julie Thompson and for the next month or so the local scene is her focus.
“My game has been working well with Carlos Miranda and Jim Watt. The way they have been working suits my game which is about power and getting to the net to volley,” said Larne woman McCullough.
“Working in Dublin was very demanding, I was doing about 28 hours a week, but it was good and I don't regret it at all, but it was just time for me to come home.
“I'm sure that in the next few years you'll be hearing about some very good players coming through.
“I'm really enjoying my tennis at the moment and representing Ireland at the Federation Cup was a great experience. I managed to win three out of four of my matches and that included our wins over Algeria and Malta. Playing Greece was really tough and in the doubles I came up against a girl who was one of the best in the world and she was very impressive. Tactically she was great and was always in position.”
Daniel Glancy pulled off the shock of the championships when he defeated number two seed Duncan Mugabe of Uganda, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-3.
Ulster’s Nelson Boyle made the semis, defeating Dubliner James McCluskey 6-4, 6-4, while Colin O’Brien defeated Englishman Ryan Horgan, 6-0, 6-4.