Judy Murray criticises lack of tennis opportunities in Scotland
The coach said the lack of a legacy from the successes of her sons Andy and Jamie was a ‘huge source of disappointment’.
Andy and Jamie Murray would still have to go abroad for coaching if they were teenagers now because of the lack of opportunities and facilities in Scotland, their mother Judy has said.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Murray said it is a “huge source of disappointment” that Scotland had not used the successes of her Grand Slam-winning children to build a legacy for young tennis players.
Sir Andy, a two-time Wimbledon winner, left Dunblane at 15 to train in Barcelona, while doubles champion Jamie travelled to Paris for coaching after finishing school.
“When the boys were good as teenagers they had to leave the country and if they were teenagers now they would still have to leave the country,” Ms Murray said.
“We had nothing here and we still have nothing here, which is a huge source of disappointment to me – not being able to capitalise on all that has been achieved.”
Ms Murray was speaking at a Scotland’s Futures Forum event, hosted by Scottish Greens co-leader Alison Johnstone and attended by several other MSPs.
She was critical of the funding Scottish tennis receives from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the sport’s national body, saying it gets just £700,000 from a £64 million budget “despite providing so much success over the last 10 or 12 years”.
Having won approval in principle from the Scottish Government to build a sports centre at Park of Keir, near Dunblane, Ms Murray said her next challenge was to “get the Murray tennis centre off the ground” while continuing to focus on teaching tennis coaches to work in deprived communities across Scotland.
“One of the things that kills me about tennis is its middle-class image,” she added.
During her talk, Ms Murray also described the challenges facing tennis in Scotland – especially for women – through her own experiences of becoming a tennis coach.
Ms Murray – herself a multi-time champion in her playing career – said when she was selected to go on a course for a coaching qualification in England as one of only two women, she was told by one coach: “What can you offer to performance coaching when you have two kids?”
On the current state of tennis for women and girls, Ms Murray said: “We are still very short of female coaches in Scotland and we are not attracting women into coaching tennis in Scotland because there are no jobs and you basically have to start your own business.
“And because there are so few indoor facilities, you quite often get rained off and so there’s huge chunks of the year when you can’t work.”
She added: “If we want to have a chance to become a strong tennis nation again, first we need to have the numbers and you need to grow the workforce and increase the facilities for people to play.”
Following the comments about funding for Scottish tennis, a spokesman for the LTA said: “We make a significantly bigger investment in Scotland than the figures quoted – through a variety of programmes and through funding to Tennis Scotland.
“This will continue, and indeed increase, over the coming years as we work with Sport Scotland to build new indoor courts and a new player development academy at Stirling University.”