TENNIS ace Andy Murray is to be gifted a bespoke, personalised poker table following his Wimbledon triumph.
The player’s uncle asked Edinburgh manufacturer Michael McCarron to custom build the card table as an offbeat gift – leaving the 34-year-old flush with pride at the end result.
The classic green felt table has been emblazoned with Murray’s name while places are marked with a full house of locations close to the 26-year-old champ’s heart.
Michael, who lives in Slateford, believes the one-off creation answers the question “what can you gift a national sporting icon who has the world at his feet – and the first men’s Wimbledon win in 77 years under his belt?”
He said: “This was just a wee hobby to spruce up my mate’s poker nights and a year later one of my tables has made it into the home of one of our greatest living sportsmen. All this is definitely not what I expected!”
Michael, who sells his tables for around £400, launched his business after deciding poker sessions with his pals lacked a certain realistic panache.
He said: “About a year ago my friends and I started organising poker games at each other’s houses every weekend and a few of us bought poker tables online to give things more of a realistic feel. However, the tables just seemed a bit cheap and plastic – not really what you’d expect at a proper high-stakes poker game. I’ve always enjoyed a bit of DIY so I decided to make one myself.”
Pleased with the end result, Michael posted pictures of his work on Facebook, where it soon gained more admirers.
“My friends started asking if I could make tables for them too, but using a slightly different design or with a personalised aspect. From there the orders just kept coming. I’ve made classic tables, a ThunderCats table, a Transformers table – anything the person wants, I can cater to.”
Soon his handiwork attracted the attention of a very famous family.
Michael said: “I decided to call the business McPoker Tables and set up a website and a Twitter page. We’ve only got about 100 followers but somehow we came to the attention of Andy Murray’s uncle, Niall Erskine. He got in touch and asked if I could make a special poker table for his nephew.
“I asked what it was he was looking for in particular and he told me ‘Well, he’s Andy Murray, so could you make it tennis-related?’ To be honest, I didn’t actually believe him at first!”
But Michael soon realised it was the real deal.
“Andy Murray’s representatives sent me a copy of his official logo to place in the centre of the table, and also gave me a list of important locations to use as place markers.”
When he is presented with the table on his return from the States, Murray and his mates will have the option of sitting at Dunblane, Wimbledon, Miami, Flushing Meadows, Melbourne, Oxshott – where he currently lives, Barcelona and Roland Garros.
And though Andy is yet to try out his new table, Michael has been told he’s raring to go.
“He won’t be back until about September but I’ve been told Andy has seen pictures and is very pleased with it.”
Uncle Niall certainly seems very happy with the finished product as well. He was unavailable for comment but has tweeted to Michael: “Great job, hope it helps your exciting business!”
Michael certainly hopes it serves up a raft of orders, too.
Wild cards have the edge
Several tennis stars have also made a splash on the poker scene. Six-time Grand Slam title winner Boris Becker signed a contract with online site PokerStars back in 2007 to become an ambassador and has since become a regular on the European poker scene – making himself a tidy $70,000 in the process.
Former world no.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov is estimated to have made close to $150,000 during a poker career, while one of the world’s top poker stars, Finland’s Patrik Antonius, began his career as a tennis player, but a back injury forced him to retire. Sport analysts say similarities mean tennis and poker players have transferable skills.
“They’re both games of strategy and guile,” one expert said.