Murray may be tennis's net loss

17th September 2004 at 01:00
Andy Murray's success at the United States Junior Open pushed Scottish tennis on to the front pages this week but it could yet result in a net loss for the game north of the border.

His mother, Judy, the current Scottish national coach, is quitting her post at the end of the year and is likely to follow her son's budding career.

She has grown increasingly frustrated at a lack of funding for the Scottish game, which has never been healthier at junior level.

Mrs Murray, described as an "inspirational coach who should be given all the financial backing she needs", took her 17-year-old son out of his Dunblane High education and Stirling University tennis base to complete his schooling and tennis education in Barcelona.

She removed him from the Lawn Tennis Association coaching system and sent him to an academy run by Emilio Sanchez, brother and coach of Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Mat Hulbert, director of Scottish tennis, concedes that Mrs Murray will be a big loss to the game if she chooses to travel the professional circuit.

"Andy's success is great for Scottish tennis as he came through the system here and played in Scottish tournaments. Although he has been out of our system for some time, he came through the club structure and it shows other youngsters what can be achieved by playing in Scotland.

"Of course, we could do with more funding as we are in a climate of cost-cutting but we hope Andy's success might show private companies that Scottish tennis is something worth investing in."

Tennis has not enjoyed the best of financial fortunes since the planned national centre at Heriot-Watt University was shelved. When a replacement centre at Stirling University opens early next year, at a cost of pound;1.3 million, it will be a scaled-down version. The LTA in England cut its original funding and plans to have two indoor clay courts had to be scrapped.

Mrs Murray commented: "The past few years have been very good for Scottish tennnis and we have never had so many talented children achieving so much at the highest levels and you would think people would look at that and think: 'They must be doing something right; let's give them all the backing they need'."

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