Maia Lumsden is showing no signs of slowing down. On the back of a definitive year in which she reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals and became British No. 1, the 26-year-old is opening 2024 by preparing to take part in her first overseas grand slam.

With regular partner Naiktha Bains not competing, Lumsden has teamed up with Georgian Oksana Kalashnikova for her senior Australian Open bow, the duo drawn to face local wildcard entries, Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Saville, in the first round of the women’s doubles.

The Scot remains hopeful that she and Kalashnikova can go far in the tournament but, after six Wimbledon appearances, she is also just trying to soak up the whole Australian Open experience, enjoying all the various aspects of it that make it different from the strawberries and cream-fest that is SW19.

“To be around a grand slam that’s different from Wimbledon has been a really amazing experience for me so far,” says the world-ranked number 74. “To be able to practice on the courts and get to be around all the other players as they’re preparing for the tournament has been really beneficial for my development.

“This is where every tennis player wants to start the year so to be here in Melbourne preparing to make my Australian Open debut is a goal achieved for me. Every day the crowds seem to be packed and there’s a great atmosphere around the place, a good vibe where everyone just seems to love tennis.

“It’s a lot different than Wimbledon. It’s a large site with a lot of big courts and everything the players need they’ve got there for you. It’s unbelievably well run – anything you need is covered.

“Oksana and I played together towards the end of last year in France and then again in Hobart. It’s really just for these events as I’ll pick up again with Naiktha soon but Oksana and I are getting to know each other a bit better which hopefully gives us a chance to do well here in Melbourne.

“We’ve had good preparation and now we’re ready to get going. We’d love to get through some matches but it’s tough to have an expectation with a relatively new playing partner. I’m just excited for it. The grand slams are the ones you always want to play in and hopefully do well.”

Lumsden has had time to acclimatise to the Australian conditions, having been part of the GB team at the United Cup in Perth before a tournament in Tasmania where she also marked her birthday feeding kangaroos at a farm.

“I’ve really enjoyed being here,” she adds. “It’s my first time in Australia since the junior events and I’ve liked it. It was good to go to the United Cup and experience being around a lot of the top players. In Hobart we lost a tight match and it was frustrating not to get through that one but it’s been a great experience. It’s nice when tournaments put on events for the players like going to see the animals. That was a different way to spend my birthday!”

It seems Scots can be found in every part of the world and it is no different in Melbourne. Having travelled out to Australia without her coach, Lumsden has been grateful for the presence of some friends and her sister, Eve, who have all stopped off to support her as part of their travels around the world. In return, the entourage have benefited from becoming part of Team Lumsden.

“A couple of my good friends just happened to be travelling in Australia so they’re here which is really nice,” she reveals. “My sister is also here as part of her travels which is great. So I’ve actually got quite a lot of Scottish people here supporting me just by chance.

“That’s been really lucky as I came out here on my own without a coach or anything. It will be nice to hopefully hear some Scottish voices and maybe see a few flags when we’re out on court.

“A few of my friends don’t know much about tennis but they’re loving being around the grounds and things like that. Because I’ve not got a coach with me they can get into the playing areas and behind the scenes so they’re finding that pretty cool, running into all the top players and things like that. I’m sure they’ll behave!”