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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Tennis centre opens after revamp
Andy Murray
Players at the centre hope to emulate Andy Murray's success
A major tennis centre redevelopment that could help nurture the next Andy Murray has been unveiled.

The 1.3m project saw two new outdoor clay courts built at the Scottish National Tennis Centre at Stirling University.

The courts are the only ones in Scotland made from Northern European clay.

The surface is used for many of the top tournaments, but until now Scottish players were unable to practice on it.

Clay courts are designed to cope with intensive use and harsh climates, extending the playing season beyond the summer months.

These latest courts will add a new dimension to the training programmes of our performance players
David Marshall
Tennis Scotland

Andy Murray, now Britain's top-ranked tennis player, was forced to move to Spain at the age of 14 partly because it would allow him to practise on clay.

The centre, which provides practice facilities and coaching for Scotland's elite tennis players, also features six indoor courts with an acrylic surface and two outdoor floodlit hard courts.

University of Stirling principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Christine Hallett said: "These new clay courts, coupled with excellent coaching and sports science support, will help nurture Scotland's finest tennis talent.

"Clay is an excellent surface for developing players as the ball travels slower than on other surfaces, optimising opportunities to coach strategies and tactics."

The new courts were officially opened by Julia Bracewell OBE, chairwoman of sportscotland.

Children on new National Tennis Centre clay court
A new generation of tennis stars will be trained on the courts

She said: "This dedicated venue for performance training will play a key role in ensuring that talented players have the facilities they need to develop their skills and reach their full potential, helping to further Scotland's standing on the world stage."

Tennis Scotland chief executive, David Marshall added: "These latest courts will add a new dimension to the training programmes of our performance players, enabling them to gain valuable practice on a surface that plays very differently to the others that are available within the university."

Roger Draper, chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, said: "We are committed to supporting tennis centres that are focused on developing talent and producing high performance players.

"The new clay courts will really enhance the existing facilities at the university and will help the team at Stirling develop our most talented players," he said.

The expansion of the tennis centre was funded by 500,000 from sportscotland and 450,000 from the Lawn Tennis Association. The university contributed a further 325,000 and Tennis Scotland provided 25,000.

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