Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 14:45 UK

Murray mania sweeps community

Jo Perry
Central reporter, BBC Scotland news website

As Andy Murray aims to become the first British man since Fred Perry to win the US Open, the excitement around the community where he grew up is almost palpable.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray will play Roger Federer in the final of the US Open

Murray, his brother Jamie and their mum Judy are regularly seen out and about in Dunblane and Stirling.

The town where he spent his formative years is buzzing at the prospect of a Murray win over tennis giant and former world number one Roger Federer.

Andy's grandmother Shirley Erskine, who still lives in Dunblane and spoke to the 21-year-old after his win, said: "I'm very proud of him. This is the biggest moment in his career.

"Rafael Nadal was the only one of the top players whom he hadn't beaten. Now he's beaten them all."

When asked about chances against Federer.

Mrs Erskine said: "It's his mum's birthday today and that would be a fantastic present for my daughter. She could not ask for any more, that's the best present he could give her."

The place was packed and people's eyes were glued to the TV. It's still a bit wild now
Ryan Greig
Dunblane barman

At the Dunblane Hotel, barman Ryan Greig has several bottles of Cava on ice in anticipation of a Murray win.

On the door of the hotel, the words "Live Football" have been replaced with "Live Tennis".

He said of the match against Nadal: "It was very busy, especially for a Sunday night.

"The place was packed and people's eyes were glued to the TV. It's still a bit wild now.

"Everyone here is getting behind Andy - if he can beat Nadal he can beat Federer."

At the practice courts of the National Tennis Centre in Stirling Murray trained as a schoolboy for future glory along with brother Jamie.

While Jamie continues to use the centre as a training base, Andy is also seen regularly taking part in practice sessions.

It is clear that he is an inspiration to each of the 2,000 youngsters who compete on the centre's 10 courts.

Residents in Dunblane speak of their joy and pride

His picture graces its corridors and in 2006 he was invited to open a £1.3m extension.

His stunning performance at this year's Open has fired the imagination of locals young and old and is providing a much-welcomed diversion from thoughts of the beating Scotland's football team received at the hands of Macedonia.

Raleigh Gowrie, sports performance manager at the University of Stirling, said there was an "Andy Murray effect" being felt at the centre.

He said: "Andy acts as a role model for young people in this area. The very fact that someone from your own doorstep has got to this level makes it all the more real for the young people.

"At some stage, everyone in the community will have bumped into Andy or his brother Jamie or his mum and because of that personal connection, there's just real excitement.

"There is a real buzz in the air. You can't go anywhere without someone mentioning Andy.

Raleigh Gowrie
Raleigh Gowrie said Andy was proving an inspiration to local youngsters

"It's also really refreshing that we can move our attention to this sport and away from football and have someone operating at the highest level."

For 13-year-old practice partners, Keiron McCluskey and Graham Cummings, Murray is a true hero.

Keiron said: "I've seen Andy's mum coaching at Bridge of Allan sports club where I go.

"Andy is some player, you cannot beat him.

"Everything is so good about him. His points, his ability, even the way he is outside the match.

"I think it'll be hard, but I think he'll do it against Federer. I think it'll go 6-2, 6-5, 6-4. He'll win the three sets. Hopefully if I keep training I'll be like him."

Graham added: "After playing Warinka I thought he had a chance. With Nadal, he was playing the number one player in the world, so I thought he had about a 50-50 chance, but he did absolutely outstanding getting there.

"If he can beat the number one player in the world then he can beat the number two. He's playing so well at the moment that I think he can beat anyone just now."

The game against Roger Federer will begin at 2200 BST.



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SEE ALSO
Murray eyes historic Slam title
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Murray stuns Nadal to reach final
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Murray v Nadal photos
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Murray v Nadal as it happened
06 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Federer too strong for Djokovic
06 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Superb Murray overcomes Federer
03 Mar 08 |  Tennis
Brilliant Murray outplays Federer
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Federer outguns impressive Murray
02 Oct 05 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
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Tennis on the BBC
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