Funding boost for tennis in Scotland
LAWN Tennis Association chief executive Michael Downey has declared it is time for tennis in Scotland to benefit from the Murray Effect.
The governing body for British tennis and sportscotland, in partnership with Tennis Scotland, have revealed a joint Σ15m joint fund-raising initiative.
We must create a lasting legacy with a purpose-built plan for Scotland.
The plan is to double the number of covered courts from 112 to 225 over the next five to ten years in Scotland which averages 200 days of rain each year to boost participation.
Andy Murray, a Scot, won Wimbledon and the Olympics before sealing the ATP World Tour title and the world No.1 spot in 2016.
His brother Jamie also reached the top in doubles while securing two Grand Slams during the year.
Fellow Scot Gordon Reid, a professional wheelchair tennis ace, claimed Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns before striking Paralympic gold in Rio in the summer to make world No.1 in singles.
Downey said: 2016 has been an historic year for British tennis with success across the board, reaching the Davis Cup semifinals as reigning champions, Jo Konta finishing in the worldÈs Top 10, Kyle Edmund breaking the Top 40 and Heather Watson winning mixed doubles at Wimbledon. Gordon Reid had a phenomenal year winning two Grand Slam titles, Paralympic gold and becoming world No. 1.
But the highest levels of success belong to the remarkable Murray brothers. Jamie became the first British man to rank at No.1 on the ATP computer and the first in more than 100 years to win two major titles in the same year.
"Andy retained his Olympic gold medal, won his second Wimbledon singles title and finished the year in style winning the ATP World Tour Finals, and ending the year ranked No.1 in the world.
Therefore the time is right to seize the moment and capitalise on the Andy and Jamie Murray Effect. We must create a lasting legacy with a purpose-built plan for Scotland.
Importantly this unprecedented investment will make tennis more accessible in the years to come, bringing certainty of play to a climate that sees on average 200 days rain a year and in a country that is under-resourced versus the rest of Britain and other European nations when it comes to the number of covered tennis courts per capital.
Mel Young, chairman of sportscotland said: This is terrific news which represents a great opportunity to further develop tennis in Scotland, and we are delighted to be working with the LTA to deliver this Î£15 million investment in facilities. The Î£7.5 million sportscotland contribution from our National Lottery investment stream and the LTAÈs Î£7.5 million will have a transformational impact on Scottish tennis.
It is tremendous that in Gordon, Andy, and Jamie we have three Scottish world number ones, and it is the ideal moment to capitalise on the sportÈs popularity by helping to achieve further growth in this country.
The strategic partnership between sportscotland, the LTA, and Tennis Scotland, coupled with this significant investment in indoor courts, will deliver substantial benefits for tennis in Scotland.
It is our belief that, collectively, this announcement and partnership will provide more and better opportunities for people to play and progress, in terms of improving facilities as well as increasing the accessibility and reach of tennis across our society.
Blane Dodds, Chairman of Tennis Scotland, added: We look forward to providing the on-the-ground support to ensure this breakthrough level of funding comes to life for tennis in Scotland. It will all start with a robust plan, developed in partnership with sportscotland and the LTA. This level of investment may come once in a lifetime so it must be maximised throughout Scotland.
This is what we all have been working towards to deliver an appropriate and ambitious legacy so the whole country benefits from the performances of our three World No.1’s: Gordon Reid, Jamie Murray and Andy Murray.
Sports Minister Aileen Campbell said: 2016 has seen Scottish tennis taken to new heights through Andy, Jamie and GordonÈs remarkable achievements. We want to see more people playing tennis and having access to top quality facilities to get fit, try something new, and have fun. This money is all about making sure the right facilities are there to help people get more active, as well as helping to create the tennis stars of the future.
The LTA stated: The full application plan for community led bids will be established by April in 2017. We are looking to work with local partners who share our ambition and can bring a financial contribution to make the investment more sustainable and the resources go a lot further to truly transform the tennis landscape in Scotland. This is stage one of the LTAÈs new community-based tennis funding programme. The LTA will be making further announcements later in 2017 for the remainder of Great Britain.