Row over failings to build on Andy Murray’s legacy reaches parliament
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell and Commons Speaker John Bercow are to urge bosses at the Lawn Tennis Association(LTA) to do more to grow the game north of the border.
The LTA has come under fierce criticism after a document issued as part of a rebrand did not include any reference to Murray, the three-times grand-slam champion.
The 36-page publication released last Friday to outline the new vision of the governing body of British tennis does not have a single mention or picture of Murray or his brother Jamie, a six-times grand-slam doubles champion.
Earlier this year Murray, 31, said he believed the LTA had failed to capitalise on his achievements. In response to the latest snub, his mother Judy tweeted “Wow”.
Mr Mundell said he would meet with the LTA along with Mr Bercow, a huge tennis fan, to press for more funding to build a legacy for the Murray brothers in their home country.
He was responding to questions from MPs Toby Perkins and Paul Masterton who warned the opportunity could be lost if action is not taken now.
Mr Mundell said: “I acknowledge the great opportunity now to build on the continuing legacy of Andy and Jamie Murray to develop tennis throughout Scotland.
“I would be happy to give that undertaking (to meet with the LTA) and perhaps Mr Speaker you would join us given your passion for tennis and your attendance at major events in Scotland.”
Mr Bercow, who has watched the Murray brothers in action at Davis Cup matches in Glasgow, backed the move and saluted the work Judy Murray had done to promote the game.
He told MPs: “I entirely agree with the Secretary of State.
“We all commend the heroic successes of Andy and Jamie Murray and building on them this year and beyond I think we want to salute the extraordinary efforts of Judy Murray which ought to be acknowledged. One of the greatest women in the world of tennis.”
Speaking earlier this week, Jamie also criticised the LTA for failing to take advantage, calling the lack of investment in Scotland “f***ing annoying”.
Judy Murray has called for increased funding to see increased levels of participation, better facilities and a workforce of coaches and event organisers to aid the next generation of players
Mr Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield and a leading member of the all-party parliamentary group on tennis, said: “I share the widespread frustration at the failure to build a legacy on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Andy Murray’s success has provided for British Tennis in general and Scotland in particular.
“The fact that there will be no elite-level events in Scotland this year and the recent coverage of the lack of facilities is deeply disappointing and I hope that the Scottish Office and Scottish government can really put some pressure on the LTA to work harder to deliver a lasting and fitting legacy to arguably Britain’s greatest-ever sporting star.”
The LTA has said it is in talks with Murray about “how best to translate his phenomenal success into a lasting legacy for our sport.”
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