HE played with Bjorn Borg during the Swede’s golden years, represented Great Britain at youth level and even named his dogs tennis and padel… it is fair to say that boss at Octogono Club Ian McDougall is crazy for the court.
Moving to Spain as a 21-year-old tennis coach in 1982, Ian landed himself a job at the prestigious Puente Romano centre.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion Borg had put his name to the club and for six days a year he made an appearance at the up-market Marbella resort.
Luckily for Ian, that meant he had the chance to play alongside the Swede as they partnered up for doubles exhibition games against the likes of Spanish legend Manuel Santana.
“It was great to play alongside Bjorn,” he says. “He was a really nice guy, quiet, kept himself to himself.
“On the court he was at his best, although I had to encourage him to get forward a bit more as he tried winning every point from the baseline as he did so well throughout his career.”
In 1987, Ian was crowned the first Padel World Champion in Marbella with partner Marcus Ludlow.
From there Ian moved to Argentina where he played at the highest level for a year.
Nowadays, father-of-four Ian spends his time running the Octogono club. With five padel courts, three hard tennis courts and three red clay courts, the 55-year-old Yorkshireman has transformed the centre into a hub for up-and-coming stars.
And while the likes of former England boss Glenn Hoddle, and royals Eugenie and Beatrice have enjoyed a knock about on Octogono’s courts, Ian is just as interested in getting kids on to the court.
As well as running its own summer camps, Octogono also hosts the Soto Academy which nurtures rising stars in Andalucia.
Junior competitions are scheduled throughout August for both tennis and padel and local players are encouraged to sign up.
And while Ian’s 10-year-old son Johnny hasn’t beaten his dad yet, he says he ‘will soon!’
Meanwhile, Ian’s 29-year-old son Oliver is following in his father’s footsteps and works as a coach at the club.
But it is not just a club for kids, tennis mix-ins for seniors take place every Wednesday and Sunday morning while padel mix-. And with a no-membership policy everyone is welcome to come along.
• For more information visit www.tennissotogrande.com or call 659 453 444/ 677 589 895
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