Judy Murray: 'We have nothing to show in Scotland for what Andy and Jamie have done'

Scotland has not capitalised on the sporting success of the country’s biggest tennis stars, according to former national coach Judy Murray.

Speaking exclusively to Scotland on Sunday, she vowed to keep up her fight to “grow the game” by building a centre of “national significance” near Dunblane to provide community facilities and world class competition courts.

"If I don’t do this, what will we end up with? Nothing,” said Murray, 62, also mother to former world number ones Jamie and Andy Murray.

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“The boys have created this incredible shop window for tennis in Scotland. There is a monster fan base and an opportunity to grow the game.

"We should absolutely be jumping all over this and using that opportunity to give people the chance to play. But that is where – to really capitalise on what they have done – we need public spaces for people.”

Murray aims to build a “grassroots tennis and golf destination” on Park of Keir, south of Dunblane and north west of Bridge of Allan.

The development – sitting on around 350 acres – would boast indoor and outdoor tennis courts, soft play, climbing walls, an adventure playground, mini courts, a six or nine-hole golf course with practice areas, a driving range, crazy golf and a state-of-the-art light up, glass-floored court.

There would also be catering facilities and a museum to the Murrays.

Judy Murray practice with children at Dunblane Sports Club. Picture: Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images for LTAJudy Murray practice with children at Dunblane Sports Club. Picture: Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images for LTA
Judy Murray practice with children at Dunblane Sports Club. Picture: Duncan McGlynn/Getty Images for LTA

On woodland, there would be nature, fitness and historic trails, with orienteering and outdoor educational opportunities, described by Murray as “wonderful” for families and schools.

There is also planning permission for 19 houses, with the sale of the plots becoming the cornerstone of funding for the project.

It has been nearly eight years since landowner Duncan King approached Murray with an offer of using his site to realise her vision of a community driven tennis facility, which would be set up as a charitable trust with money generated reinvested into the project.

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The process has been long and thrown many “curve balls” at Murray, including a campaign within the local community against the development.

Park of Keir, Dunblane. Picture: ContributedPark of Keir, Dunblane. Picture: Contributed
Park of Keir, Dunblane. Picture: Contributed

Much of this has focused on Murray personally – with accusations of it being a “vanity project” – and as a result she has chosen not to speak to the media about her vision for a long time, instead working through the official planning process which has involved Scottish Government intervention and a public inquiry.

“This eight years has been full of curve balls, and hassle, and it’s constantly being misrepresented by those who are against it," Murray said.

“There is misinformation about what it is and what it is going to be and the philosophy – or the reasons behind it.”

Murray insists her focus is community driven, to create a “destination” venue which will create not only sport and leisure facilities, but jobs and tourism in the wider Dunblane area.

"You hear them [protesters] talking about, ‘this is just Judy Murray’s vanity project’ and ‘this is her elite training academy’ and we don’t need one,” Murray said.

"I have a massive community spirit – as my parents did before me – and this is what it is all about.

"I have lived in the area all my life. This is not a commercial venture in any way and it is not an elite tennis academy. It has never been that and it has never waivered from what it set out to be.”

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"I could walk away,” she added. “It has taken almost eight years but we’re almost there. We’re waiting now for the Scottish Government to give final approval.

"We managed to agree section 75 with Stirling Council and that was a very long process – but it was a really important process to get it right for both sides.

"We have got it to where everybody is happy with it and that is really important. So although it has taken a long time and it has been hugely frustrating – and by the time it actually gets opened the boys will be pretty much retired – I feel it’s that whole thing that if something is worth doing it is worth fighting for – and I am so used to having to fight to make things happen.

"There have been times when I have questioned it and thought, is it worth it? But I believe in the project and I believe Scotland ought to have a centre of national significance that is run by somebody who is completely immersed in showcasing tennis and growing the game, but also believes in the power of sport for health and wellbeing, all of these things – the life lessons you get from sport – it’s wonderful."

Murray, a former Scottish international tennis player and winner of 64 national titles, added: “We have nothing to show for what Andy and Jamie have done. Why shouldn’t we have opportunities in Scotland the same as other countries do? Why is there nothing and why has this been such a struggle?”

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