There was not a dry eye in Scotland on Sunday evening following Andy Murray’s amazing exploits on Centre Court in one of the greatest Wimbledon men’s singles finals of the modern era.
Despite the nation willing Andy on, Roger Federer proved just too good, but the Scot’s time will surely come and the legacy will be the inspiration he offers to people the length and the breadth of the country and beyond.
Andy has created a real buzz around the sport which will undoubtedly lead to more people picking up a racquet.
Through allplay, the national campaign to encourage more people to play tennis, those new to the sport can discover places to play close by, find friends to play against and record and track results, all for free.
We do have some outstanding tennis facilities in Scotland, from 220 member clubs to pay-and-play facilities such as the Craiglockhart Indoor Tennis Centre here in the Capital.
However, not all parts of Scotland have the same opportunity, and we are undertaking a full audit of places to play tennis as part of our four-year facilities strategy to identify gaps and priorities for investment.
It is important that we ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support the growth of the game and we will require the support of our funding partners to ensure adequate provision to allow us to meet the increasing demand.
Tennis Scotland is working in partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to look at the development of park sites.
While there are many good examples such as the Meadows, 16 outdoor acrylic courts in an excellent condition in the heart of Edinburgh, there is also a significant number in disrepair.
We will ensure that we work with local authorities to open these sites up, establishing tennis beacons in our communities and offering more people the chance to play tennis.
Having a boy from Dunblane competing on tennis’s greatest stage has given our youngsters the belief that they, too, can do it. You can see that this week at Craiglockhart, where the best of Scotland has been competing against the rest of the world at the Aegon Junior International Edinburgh.
Of course, we’d love to see more children taking part, and we are working to support tennis delivery in schools. Across Scotland, more than 1000 schools have received £500 equipment packs through the Tennis Foundation and the Aegon schools tennis programme.
We still have work to do to challenge people’s perceptions about the sport – in particular in relation to the cost of participating. On average, club membership costs £2.81 a week for an adult, 94p per week for a junior and only 40p per week for an under-10 competing in LTA Mini Tennis. Many park sites across Scotland now offer tennis for free, so if your child is a budding Andy Murray now is the ideal time to get involved.
• David Marshall is chief executive officer at Tennis Scotland
GOING FOR GOLD
THE good news for those suffering withdrawal symptoms is that another bout of Murray mania is just around the corner, with Andy going for gold at the London Olympics.
But the world number four isn’t alone in flying the flag for Scotland on the court. Brother Jamie already has a Wimbledon title to his name, triumphing in mixed doubles with Serb Jelena Jankovic in 2007.
Scots duo Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae already have gold medals round their necks after glory at the Commonwealth Games in India two years ago, while Britain’s Davis Cup team is led by Glasgow-born Leon Smith.