JUDY Murray has warned that Scotland’s dilapidated public tennis courts make it harder to find more superstars like Emma Raducanu.
Sir Andy Murray’s mother has aimed after the 18-year-old sensation’s victory at the US Open sparked renewed interest in grassroots development.
Grassroots activist Judy told the Scottish Sun: “Emma’s success in New York will dramatically increase the profile and appetite for tennis in this country once again.
“But if we’re going to convert that interest and enthusiasm into people picking up a racquet for the first time, we absolutely need to have affordable, accessible – and of course playable public fields.
“Without park courts, we will never make tennis a sport for everyone. Talent is everywhere. The opportunity is not.
His comments came as the governing body of tennis, the LTA, warned that 40% of public tennis courts in the UK are “poor or unplayable”, damaging the prospects of children playing the sport.
He said he needed to find £ 15-20million to get 1,800 courts back up and running.
On Twitter this morning, Judy posted photos of dilapidated courts in Maryhill, Glasgow and East Kilbride, Lanarkshire – tagging the Scottish government in the post.
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It comes amid a row over sports facilities that won’t reopen after Covid shutdowns, or that deteriorate for years.
In August, we recounted how Sir Andy called East Kilbribe’s neglected courts a ‘shambles’ after dad Allan Kay’s plea to save the abandoned and weeded facility.
Judy reposted the snap of Allan’s daughter, eight-year-old Matilda, today.
LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd also said the sport wanted to harness the power of Raducanu’s incredible Grand Slam victory – but the state of the public courts was holding him back.
He said: “Our vision for the LTA is to open up tennis and to do that we need to make sure that the public facilities available for anyone to play are there.
“Our assessment shows that approximately 40% of the courts in the park are in poor condition or unplayable.”
When asked to what extent the cost of the game and the cost of private club memberships hold back the prospect of ‘more potential Emma Raducanus’ to play, Mr Lloyd said:’ Well, he doesn’t make any Doubt that there is a perception that this could be the case.But in reality, the cost of tennis is not that prohibitive in many cases.
“For example, we’re talking about getting the courts back up and running, often for free, and the investment we’ve made in digital reservation systems to make it easier for people to find that way to court is also very, very important. ours.
“So tennis is really a sport for everyone. “
SNP’s ‘shameful legacy’ as Glasgow sports centers padlocked, neglected and covered in rubbish
We spoke in April of the anger over public sports facilities left padlocked or neglected in Glasgow – just a few years after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and its much-vaunted ‘legacy’ of basic physical activity.
Among the venues were the courts at Maryhill Park. Community volunteers have struggled for years to raise funds to reopen them.
The heads of South Lanarkshire Leisure say they cannot afford to reopen the Red Ash Courts in East Kilbride.
Scottish Conservative MSP and former Olympian Brian Whittle: “Emma Raducanu’s story is extremely inspiring and will have motivated many young people to launch their own tennis careers.
“However, we’re not going to produce more champions if we don’t have high quality local facilities across Scotland for people to train. Judy Murray is right to attack the dire state of many courts in Scotland.
“Years of brutal SNP cuts to our local authorities have left them to deteriorate to the point of becoming unfit to play.
“It is time for the SNP to back the Scottish Tories’ plans to enshrine a fair council funding deal into law. This will give councils the necessary funds to protect sports facilities and encourage future sports talent. “
Piers Morgan says Andy Murray “has a winning mentality” from his mother Judy at Wimbledon
Scottish Labor spokesperson for sport Carol Mochan said: “The dire state of public tennis courts is an embarrassment.
“Sport should be open to everyone, but crumbling public facilities are not serving us well.
“It’s no surprise that tennis courts are in this condition after years of SNP budget cuts for boards.
“We need to invest in affordable sports to make sure that cost is not a barrier to unleashing talent. “
A Glasgow Life spokesperson said: “Since the end of 2019, Glasgow Life has supported the efforts of a local steering group to secure funding to modernize the blaes tennis courts at Maryhill Park.
“These funding allocations have been obtained in principle, and we hope to announce the start of a renovation plan in the coming months.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘We understand the importance of having maintained and safe facilities for tennis and other sports for people of all ages across Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is working with partners including Sportscotland and our sport governing bodies to do everything possible to reopen the facilities following the exit from the pandemic. “
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