Leader: Let’s live up to Andy Murray’s example

Andy Murray pictured during a practice session at Wimbledon. Picture: PA
Andy Murray pictured during a practice session at Wimbledon. Picture: PA
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There are many areas that define us as a successful society: a strong economy; caring for those less fortunate; an education system based on equal access for all.

But one aspect is surely the ability to spot opportunity in whatever discipline. To see the future possibilities and to act on them. And so to evolve into a stronger, better place.

When it comes to sport, Scotland does not have a proud record. We have not qualified for a major football championship since 1998. Rugby is on the up but there was still not a single Scot in the Lions squad which beat the All Blacks yesterday. In golf, we produce many talented juniors but few make a successful transition to the professional game.

Tennis, however, is different. In men’s singles we have the world No 1 and current Wimbledon and Olympic champion. In men’s doubles Jamie Murray is a multiple Grand Slam champion. And in wheelchair tennis Gordon Reid is a serial winner.

Collectively, any Scot with the remotest interest in sport has enjoyed Andy Murray’s past 12 years. As a nation we have bounced up and down in front of the TV, cheering him on. Our politicians joked that First Minister’s Questions would have to be rescheduled for a Murray match and Alex Salmond was quick on the draw with the saltire when Murray won Wimbledon in 2013 – surely the greatest Scottish sporting moment of all time.

But collectively Scotland has been flat-footed in its response. The brothers’ success has given Scotland a gilt-edged opportunity to grow tennis. To encourage more kids away from smartphones and computer games to play sport. But we need facilities. Not a single new indoor court has been built since Andy Murray first arrived on the pro tour in 2005. This is nothing short of a national sporting disgrace. And why have our politicians not grabbed hold of the issue? Is tennis perceived as a minority middle class sport? If it is, let’s change it.

Andy of course is focused on the latter stages of his career. But mum Judy must be burning with frustration that as a nation we have done little to capitalise on success.

If Andy Murray’s legacy is simply a lot of good memories then we will have failed to spot the opportunity. And that is not the mark of a successful society.