Falkirk’s investing but Judy wants more than Zetland

Judy Murray has taken her roadshow on tour
Judy Murray has taken her roadshow on tour

It pains Judy Murray to see a lack of tennis courts or clubs closing, especially those just a few miles down the road from where she helped train her Wimbledon-winning sons Jamie and Andy.

Murray, as well as being a famous tennis mum, is a feverent campaigner for growing the game of tennis in the UK.

Falkirk has seen investment in the sport recently with the world-record attempt to mark the opening of Zetland park tennis courts, but that only masks the loss of Castings tennis club a couple of years earlier.

At a time when the world’s most famous tennis mum is on the road promoting the game – and receiving great feedback thanks also to her sons’ acheivements – it’s a set-back when clubs close, but heartening to see new courts open like the one in Zetland Park.

“There’s certainly not a lot of tennis courts around,” she told The Falkirk Herald.

“That’s exactly why I’m taking the game ‘on the road’ with this series of workshops. It’s to take the game to areas which don’t really have a court near them and to show how the game can be played by those who maybe don’t have the access.”

Fresh from Strictly Come Dancing, Judy Murray was back in Central Scotland this week delivering a course in Stirling alongside doubles expert son Jamie.

They showed off some of the games that they played together, with Andy, when they were younger.

The youngsters taking part even had a chance to play a short game with Wimbledon doubles champ Jamie and against Judy herself.

“They all loved it,” added Judy. “The sessions are as much about the children’s enjoyment as they are to show coaches and volunteers who also maybe don’t have the access to courts that there is an opportunity to deliver tennis in a fun way, we use balloons and beanbags and different stations – a group of children with racquets and balls can quickly descend into chaos!

“Tennis is a complex co-ordination sport. You’re controlling your movement, and you have to control the racquet and control the moving ball.

“Each station shows one of the areas that’s important in tennis.”

Supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, the roadshows aim to give parents, coaches, teachers and volunteers the tools needed to get children active and playing tennis, even if there’s not a court as good as Zetland Park near them.

The LTA recently awarded £3.3m to Tennis Scotland to advance the game further north of the border and the likes of Zetland Park will only help.

“We need more public courts to grow the game and we have an opportunity to do that, but it’s also about supporting a thriving activity and that’s why I am behind the sessions and roadshows,” added Murray, who’s shortly heading to Australia the grand slam.

“It’s up to local authorities to invest in courts but what I ca do is get the sport thriving so there is a need for those courts.

“Falkirk used to only have Falkirk LTC and the red brick at Callendar Park. You’ve got a big big town there with more courts but there’s always room for more.” she added. “What I’m trying to do is take the game to areas which don’t have access at all and just showing it can be played.”