Former British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray says the creation of a new tennis centre in Inverurie will help develop the sport of tennis in Scotland, according to Grampian Online. The new £2.5million indoor tennis facility is set to open next year.
Judy Murray was speaking at the Garioch Sports Centre on Monday where she was delivering educational workshops to primary and secondary school teachers in Aberdeenshire and said that the new facility would help improve tennis at the grassroots level.
Murray commented, “There haven’t been tennis courts in the area for over 20 years, so it’s an ambitious project with no tennis network. For the last 15 months, we’ve been helping the Sports Centre to grow a network.
We’ve been working with the rural local clubs and now starting to work with some of the pupils in the schools, the pupils at Inverurie Academy, and also the teachers in the wider catchment area. What we said is that we’re looking for anybody with a pair of jimmies and a whole load of enthusiasm to deliver tennis in their school curriculum.
We’re very happy with anybody that comes along. [The workshop] was great, tennis isn’t a big sport up here for obvious reasons, there are not loads of facilities and of course, the weather is tough in the winter. The possibility of indoor courts here means there’s a massive opportunity to grow the game up here, but you need to grow the workforce first before you can grow the interest and numbers as that’s the way to make the place sustainable when it does eventually open”.
Murray added that the main objective of the facility was to provide a world-class facility for tennis in the region as it had not had any for a long time now. “It is partly that [to increase the talent pool]. But you have to remember that 99 per cent of players in this country are recreational.
We get one or two who become really good, but for me, the whole thing is about the grassroots. It’s about the communities, the clubs and the schools, because if you can make that really vibrant and big numbers, then you have much more chance of getting some talent further up the ladder.
Our focus is very much on grassroots, very much on building tennis in the community and making it a sport for everyone. For tennis to really grow in Scotland, you need to be able to play for 12 months of the year, people need the chance to coach for 12 months of the year, to run competitions for 12 months of the year.
My Foundation works with rural and disadvantaged areas to try to grow workforces within local communities, so this fits into our rural philosophy. It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve met a lot of good people up here who are keen to make tennis grow and today is just another step in the direction we all want to go.
At the end of the day, it’s all about people. Facilities are one thing, but it’s people who make environments and make things happen, so we’re very happy to come up as a Foundation and support that. They’ve got a wonderful team behind the facility project and we all want to make it work”.