BBC Home
Explore the BBC
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
New generation
By Colin Moffat
Braehead Arena, Glasgow

Andy Murray serves for Great Britain at Glasgow's Braehead Arena
Murray serves for Great Britain at Glasgow's Braehead Arena
This time last year, naming a Scottish tennis player - past or present - was a tougher prospect for most people than coming up with a famous Belgian.

But that's all changed with the emergence of Andy Murray who, for good or bad, has hogged all the headlines at this weekend's Davis Cup tie in Glasgow.

His participation has been limited through illness and the teenager was in danger of adding an arm strain to his list of ailments as he gamely ploughed through the long request for autographs from his army of young fans.

And, while some parents may have been less than happy with Murray's outburst towards the umpire during Saturday's doubles, he may yet inspire inspire a new generation of Scottish tennis players.

"There has definitely been a growth in the numbers taking up the game," Ellinore Lightbody, national coach for Tennis Scotland, told BBC Sport.

"We've already seen an increase in the numbers playing competitively and that's really all down to Andy.

"He has been phenomenal in supporting junior players coming up in Scotland and I think his whole image will raise the game here.

"He's done a couple of clinics at schools and open days with us. And his ability to interact with the kids has been brilliant. He's been able to ask questions and get involved with them.

The Davis Cup really is rock and roll tennis
Ellinore Lightbody,
National coach for Tennis Scotland

"He's been fantastic to work with and every single kid has gone away inspired."

And there will be improved facilities for emerging talent; with two new courts opening at Stirling University on 27 May at what will be the new the Tennis Scotland national training centre.

Much has been made of the fact that Murray left Scotland to train in Spain and Scotland does need to add to its 83 indoor courts.

But Murray only spent 25 weeks at the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona, so home-grown players can take heart.

Tennis is the 17th most popular sport among adults in Scotland, according to Tennis Scotland, but that leaps up to 10th among the 8-15 age group.

Plans to improve facilities at the Scotstoun leisure centre in Glasgow and the Craiglockhart tennis centre in Edinburgh are designed to push that figure higher.

"It's fantastic that the Davis Cup is here in Glasgow," added Lightbody.

"There could be a child from Musselburgh or Helensburgh who comes along to watch Andy and is inspired to go to a club and starts playing tennis.

"It really is rock and roll tennis, with the music and all the razzmatazz - a great showcase for a young audience.

"We've got to make tennis accessible and it's important to make it fun because we're competing a host of other popular, more established sports and a vibrant youth market.

"So we've got to get in there first. We've got to get into schools and get kids on the court and get good programmes established."

Missing Murray?
07 Apr 06 |  Tennis
Britain facing must-win singles
08 Apr 06 |  Tennis

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs | Headlines for your site


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport