From Craiglockhart to Mallorca: The Scots tennis siblings aiming for the top after following in footsteps of Rafa Nadal
Andy and Jamie Murray have flown the flag for tennis in this country superbly for many years now and have inspired countless children to take up the game.
Murray Watters, 12, and his older brother Rhys, 15, grew up close to Craiglockhart Tennis Centre in Edinburgh and that, coupled with watching the Murrays doing their thing on TV, helped them begin a love affair with the sport.
“When I was young, we could see Craiglockhart Tennis Centre from our lounge window,” Murray reveals.
“I enjoyed playing football and lots of other sports, but tennis was always the sport that I felt naturally good at.”
Rhys adds: “Tennis is a very hard sport physically and mentally, but it was one that I just loved right from the start and having the courts so near our house was certainly a bonus.”
From an early age it was clear that both boys had significant natural sporting ability and they soon started competing on the junior Scottish tennis circuit, winning many under-10 events and being selected for Talent ID squads and regional events.
Realising the duo had potential, parents Adrienne and Keith spent two years travelling back and forth with the boys during school holidays to the Global Tennis Academy in Mallorca.
Eventually a big decision was made for Adrienne to put her teaching career on hold and move with the boys to Mallorca so they could join the Academy full-time with Keith travelling out to see them when he could.
“That was in 2016 and it meant the boys got the chance to work with Jofre Porta, the former coach to Carlos Moya when he was men’s world number one and the former coach of Rafa Nadal during his Spanish Federation junior training days, and his team of excellent coaches,” Adrienne explains.
“They worked with Murray and Rhys tirelessly and helped them develop an extra layer of physical strength and mental toughness.”
And the work paid off as the boys, who were also becoming fluent in Spanish at the time, began posting great results in Spain and beyond with Rhys saying: “The experience of training and living in Spain was brilliant and having good results in tournaments there really gave me confidence.”
Murray ranks being number one in his category in Spain for two years as one of his career highlights to date “because the level of competition in Spain is high and the majority of tournaments are played on clay”.
After four years spent at the Global Tennis Academy, the boy’s final year in Spain was spent learning from experienced coaches at Sa Teulera.
In July 2020, a few months after the pandemic had struck, the family all relocated to Britain so the boys could join The Delgado and Lee Tennis Academy in Bisham, England.
Since then, Murray has had some brilliant results in the UK and abroad and on Friday he won the Tennis Europe under-12 doubles in Bressuire, France, with Charlie Riley from Ireland.
Rhys is currently competing in his first International Tennis Federation competition in Portugal and is looking to win valuable points at that level.
The boys enjoy being on the same sporting path as each other - “we’ll be a strong double partnership in the future”, says Murray - so keep an eye out for the Watters brothers in the years to come.
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