Action needed now to secure Murray brothers’ legacy in tennis, says mother
More investment in tennis is needed now if Andy and Jamie Murray are to leave a lasting legacy for the sport, their mother has said.
Tennis coach Judy Murray said her sons “won’t play forever” and now is the right time to capitalise on their success and secure a bright future for the sport.
She has teamed up with Tennis Scotland to call for support from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the Scottish Government to deliver an action plan.
They want to see increased levels of participation, better facilities and a workforce of coaches and event organisers to aid the next generation of tennis players who have been inspired by the Murray brothers.
Judy Murray said: “The time has to be now. Whatever happens this year, Andy and Jamie won’t play for ever, but we can make the most of what they’ve achieved and we can do that now.
“We need more public tennis courts, more indoor courts and a much bigger tennis workforce to get more people playing the game – and that is how we should measure legacy.
“This is not about statues or new, branded tournaments. It’s about investing in people.
“The word ‘legacy’ is always spoken about with the right intentions across a range of sports, but I don’t want us to waste any more time talking about it – I want us to see action and delivery to make sure the legacy is realised and not left to wither after the boys’ playing careers have come to an end.”
Ms Murray and Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland chief executive, will ask the LTA and the Scottish Government to act this year on a number of initiatives, including the creation of a community pay-and-play facility near Dunblane, from which a nationwide workforce of tennis and sports coaches will be developed.
The plan also includes the development of more indoor facilities to allow year-round play, and a strategy to engage families.
Mr Dodds said: “This is time critical. At Tennis Scotland, our strategic plan for the next four years is about delivering the legacy, but we can achieve so much more with a collective push at this important stage.
“We have a £15 million commitment from LTA and sportscotland to provide more indoor facilities in Scotland and later this year we will be opening our GB National Academy in Stirling, but we need to look at all aspects of legacy.
“Facilities are one thing but we need many more people to deliver activity for all ages and stages so we must work more effectively and efficiently to build a nationwide workforce to deliver on that commitment.
“Andy is arguably the greatest sportsperson Scotland has produced, and Jamie is a brilliant role model too, but they cannot play forever, so it is important we work together to ensure their legacy means something to future generations and that the path to tennis excellence can be achieved within this country, through thriving development and a world-class training environment.”