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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 April 2006, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Britain's Becker?
By Colin Moffat
Braehead Arena, Glasgow

Andy Murray
Murray won his first ATP title in San Jose in February
Davis Cup veteran John Lloyd believes Scottish teenager Andy Murray has the ability to reach the highest level and in doing so revolutionise tennis in Britain.

The Dunblane youngster's meteoric rise has already made a significant impact north of the border.

For the first time in 36 years a Davis Cup tie is taking place in Scotland, due largely to his involvement.

And last year's televised Scotland v England clash for the Aberdeen Cup would have been unthinkable were it not for the 18-year-old.

"It's been the problem in Britain for years that the public generally think of tennis as just Wimbledon," Lloyd told BBC Sport.

"And after a couple of weeks of excitement the public interest goes back into hibernation. We have to get the message out that tennis is a year-round game.

"It helps when you get stars in your own country and, if Andy Murray becomes the player I think he will, I think he's going to generate an unbelievable amount of interest in the sport.

"I really believe he has the potential to emulate what Boris Becker did in Germany because kids will always want to copy stars.

"He will have to win big tournaments to keep up that momentum and I believe he will.

Wimbledon, great tournament that it is, in some ways has been detrimental to the game's growth
John Lloyd

"Okay, we had Tim Henman - and don't get me wrong - Tim has been a great example for British tennis, but Andy brings something different to the table.

"He has a more obvious appeal for youth in this country.

"And if we can get a few more kids taking up tennis then we have a larger talent pool and our sport will get bigger and better, and I really think Andy can help do that."

Murray missed the first day's play of the Davis Cup with Serbia and Montenegro due to illness.

But he wasn't afforded much rest at court-side in the Braehead Arena as long queues of children mobbed him for autographs - which he willingly provided.

"Another problem for the game is that is has an upper class image," continued Lloyd.

"And Wimbledon, great tournament that it is, in some ways has been detrimental to the game's growth.

"With the strawberries and cream and the ivy, a lot of people think it's out of their range and expensive.

"Andy Murray can change that because he doesn't view it as the ultimate event and talks about other tournaments.

"We need to stress that tennis is not such an expensive game. We can all play it and it's a wonderful family sport. It's a game for life."


SEE ALSO
Missing Murray?
07 Apr 06 |  Tennis


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