Andy Murray wants to give something back to Scotland by staging a unique charity night of tennis and comedy in Glasgow this September.
The British world No 2 tennis player believes he would never have achieved so much in his chosen sport without the backing of his home supporters and hopes this year’s launch event will herald the start of an annual fund-raising tennis extravaganza.
Murray, 28, and his brother Jamie will both play in the spectacle at the SSE Hydro, with fellow top players Gael Monfils, his childhood friend and the former French No 1, and Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman also taking part.
As well as giving the opportunity for 10,000 people to see world-class tennis first-hand, Murray hopes to raise a large sum of money for local Glasgow charity Young People’s Futures, as well as Unicef.
Speaking at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the scene of his 2012 gold medal Olympics triumph and Wimbledon singles title success three years ago, Murray said: “I’ve been speaking about putting on something like this for a couple of years and it is finally coming together.
“Glasgow is a good place to have it, based on the fact we played there in the Davis Cup and had fantastic crowds, so it would be nice to give something back.
“Also, I was born in Glasgow and have always wanted to do an event like this.
“It’s all about giving back to Glasgow and the community there; not only because of what they did to support us in the Davis Cup but throughout my career the people in Scotland have been fantastic.
“They don’t have any world-class tennis events up there while there are a lot down here [in England] so hopefully it will go well.”
Murray is also in talks with high-profile comedians and other star acts to join him on the night, with details to be revealed in the next few weeks.
Tickets, however, have already gone on sale, priced from £20, in the hope families will be able to attend in huge numbers.
Murray, who recently became a father for the first time and was coached by his mother Judy when he grew up in Dunblane, added: “We talked about the ticket prices and want to encourage families to come along.
“Tennis is a very expensive sport and not always that accessible at times, so hopefully the pricing will help and a lot of youngsters and families will be able to come along and watch.”
Murray was also announced yesterday as a Unicef UK Ambassador having recently raised almost £100,000 for children affected by the Syrian conflict through his Andy’s Aces campaign.
Lily Caprani, Unicef’s UK deputy executive director, said: “Andy has provided vital support for Unicef’s work for children for a number of years and we are very proud to have him working with us.
“This latest initiative is an example of his commitment to help children in danger.”
The ‘Andy Murray Live’ event will also help local Glaswegians through the Young People’s Futures charity, which was represented at the launch event by Ann Lawrance.
Choking back tears of emotion, she said: “We are so grateful to Andy for choosing to help us as this event will literally change the lives of some young people. It could also have an enormous impact on the future of our charity and the work we are able to do.”
Murray also looked moved when he realised the impact his charity night could have. And he pledged to roll it out across the country – once
he has made it a success in Glasgow.
“I am not sure how much money we will be able to raise, but these things can grow,” he commented.
“Ideally we will sell out the venue and it is difficult to put a figure on as on the night people could get in the mood, really embrace it all and really raise a lot.
“We will see how it goes for a number of years. I want to bring top level tennis to Glasgow on an annual basis and make the event bigger every year.
“At first we will keep it in Glasgow and then potentially move around the country. It is important the first year is done well and is successful and we can take it from there.”