The “phenomenal success” of the recent Davis Cup tie in Glasgow shows the huge appetite for tennis in Scotland and highlights the massive opportunity which exists to grow the sport, according to Judy Murray.
The Great Britain Fed Cup captain said neither she nor her sons, Andy and Jamie, had ever experienced an atmosphere like the one at the Emirates Arena at the weekend, where Great Britain beat the US.
Coming after a huge year for sport in 2014 – in which Scotland hosted the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup – Judy Murray believes there has never been a better time to capitalise on the “buzz” about the sport she has worked to promote for 25 years. But she stressed that good public facilities and a workforce of people who can enthuse others and bring on talent are essential if tennis is to continue to grow north of border.
“There is talent everywhere in the country, but talent without opportunity doesn’t come to anything,” she said.
Murray was speaking as she prepared to address 300 young people interested in exploring a career in sports development or coaching at the Dundee Academy of Sport, a project led by Abertay University. The talk included her reflections on her rise from being a volunteer coach in Dunblane to working at tennis’s elite level.
Speaking ahead of the event, she said: “I was a young mum when I started out volunteering at our local club and we had no track record of success in tennis in Scotland – in fact, we had very little tennis in Scotland and no indoor courts when I started out.
“Now there is a massive, massive opportunity to capitalise on the buzz about tennis that’s been created by Andy and Jamie’s success, and of course I really want to try to grow the game up here.”
Andy Murray sealed the Davis Cup quarter-final place for Britain at the weekend with a win over American John Isner.
“The Davis Cup was a phenomenal success,” said Judy Murray. “The atmosphere at the Emirates Arena was incredible, there was about 8,000 people there. I’ve never seen anything like it and Andy and Jamie said they’d never played in an atmosphere like that. You can see there’s a huge appetite for it in Scotland, and for tennis it’s the perfect time to capitalise.”
She added: “For them to play it in Scotland was very, very special. I think it was the first time Andy had played in Scotland since he won his Grand Slams. He found it very emotional.”