Comment: Sports clubs are positive force

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IT was exactly a year ago that Judy Murray looked on as her son lifted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year title. That a gangly teenager from Dunblane should develop into a two-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medallist should be enough for any mum. But for Judy Murray there is a lot more to be done. And we’re not talking Strictly Come Dancing.

The true legacy of Andy Murray’s decade at the top of world tennis should be more courts – indoor and outdoor – to allow kids to play. As Judy said in a recent interview: “I would absolutely hate it if Andy and Jamie finished their careers in five years’ time and we have nothing to show for it. I would hate it. It would kill me.”

Andy Murray’s success has been the inspiration for many. Now we need access to affordable facilities to allow the future generation to play.

There has been some progress in Edinburgh (the Meadows, for example, has improved its offering) but as you head into areas of smaller population its gets difficult.

In Midlothian, there is only long-standing tennis club at Dalkeith. But recently locals have been reviving community courts at Penicuik, where currently scores of youngsters get the chance to play.

This is now under threat as the council has zoned the land at Kirkhill for development. A rethink of that is now required. Not only are the courts providing opportunity for children, but we should remember sports clubs are a positive force for community cohesion. As people work longer, it is clubs such as these that can introduce us to our neighbours, particularly in commuter towns such as Penicuik.

So, whether we are trying to develop the next Wimbledon champion, make our towns a more interesting and united place to live, or simply ensuring that exercise is at the heart of our communities, a solution should be found to ensure Penicuik tennis club, and others, can thrive long after Andy and Judy step out of the limelight.