Tennis courts bulldozed for national sports centre

An artist's impression of the new facility. Picture: Comp
An artist's impression of the new facility. Picture: Comp
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TENNIS courts at Heriot-Watt University are set to be ripped up to make way for the new National Performance Centre for Sport.

Members of the university’s sports centre have been told the three popular floodlit courts will close this Thursday as builders begin work on the 
£30 million development – which does not include tennis as one of its key sports. Students and staff have been advised to join local clubs instead.

An artist's impression of the new facility. Picture: Comp

An artist's impression of the new facility. Picture: Comp

Heriot-Watt says it plans to replace the courts, but has not given any timetable.

One member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: “If the weather is nice, in summer we go up for a lunchtime hit every day. But we got an e-mail saying there would be no tennis from March 26 and telling us to go elsewhere.”

He said tennis was growing in popularity and ought to be included in the new national centre.

“There are meant to be 12 indoor sports courts in the new development – I don’t know why a couple of those could not be tennis courts. For the national centre not to have any tennis courts would be missing the mood of the nation.”

There is an opportunity to come together and do something fantastic in Scotland.”

Marcel du Coudray

And top Edinburgh-based tennis coach Marcel du Coudray gave his backing to including tennis in the development. He said: “Scotland has an 
opportunity to be building on Andy Murray’s legacy and ultimately we want to be building as many tennis courts as possible.

“Indoor courts should be prioritised over outdoor courts because of the weather.

“I know costs can be high, but anything that develops the game, especially at this period, is the way to go.

“There is an opportunity to come together and do something fantastic in Scotland.”

Tennis Scotland said it had originally hoped tennis would be included in the new centre.

Chief executive David Marshall said: “When all the funding and options became clearer, it was not possible to get tennis in. The agreement was we would revisit tennis after the first year or so and see what was possible, but as a minimum the courts that were there would be replaced.”

A Heriot-Watt spokeswoman said: “The three existing tennis courts were included in the original plan, but due to design developments increasing and improving the overall project that space will now be built upon. We are liaising with Sportscotland and exploring all options with a firm view to replacing on-campus tennis provision as soon as is feasible.”

The centre is due to be open for business in summer 2016.