Page last updated at 23:45 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 00:45 UK

Call to improve tennis facilities

Andy Murray
Andy Murray's success has led to an increase in the sport's popularity

An MSP is calling on the Scottish Government to improve tennis facilities after a survey revealed a third of councils had none.

The study, carried out by Labour's Frank McAveety, showed 10, or 31.25%, of Scotland's 32 local authorities, had no provision for the sport at all.

They included Angus, East Lothian, Falkirk, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Perth, Borders and South Ayrshire.

The Scottish Government said it was boosting investment by £334,000.

Of those councils that did cater to players of the game, East Renfrewshire, Orkney, Shetland and West Lothian had only one facility where the sport could be played.

Andy Murray's fantastic performances at Wimbledon will inspire thousands of youngsters to get involved in sport. We need to provide them with places to play
Frank McAveety MSP

Just four Scottish Councils - Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow and the Western Isles - offered free access to tennis courts for those under the age of 16.

Mr McAveety, the Scottish Labour spokesman on sport, said the government needed to be "more serious about the sport" and increase investment.

He added: "Andy Murray's fantastic performances at Wimbledon will inspire thousands of youngsters to get involved in sport. We need to provide them with places to play.

"Some local authorities have shown a lead in ensuring that tennis courts are free to under-16s.

"We need other Scottish councils to follow this example and open their doors to children."

'Medal successes'

David Macdermid, of Tennis Scotland, said there was a danger that a lack of facilities could inhibit the benefits of the "Andy Murray" effect.

He said: "There is certainly concern that we will not be able to maximise the impact that Andy's success is having because of the shortage of facilities.

"We are working with the Scottish Government and local government but there is no doubt that this is a long-term issue that presents long-term challenges."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said ministers had "great ambitions" for the sport in Scotland and were serious about ensuring quality facilities were available for all.

She added: "That is why £1.3m has been invested in extending the Centre of Excellence for Scottish Tennis at Stirling University to improve facilities for all levels of tennis players.

"This year sportscotland announced increased investment in Scottish tennis of £334,000 to support club development, coaching, medal success, organisational development and player improvement."



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