£15m for Scottish tennis to create Murray legacy

Andy Murray

The UK’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and sportscotland announced a £15 million ‎joint-funding agreement to start in 2017 to “capitalise on the Andy and Jamie Murray effect” and to create a “lasting legacy with a purpose built plan for Scotland.”

The ambition, in partnership with Tennis Scotland, is to “transform tennis in Scotland by doubling the number of covered courts from 112 to 225 over the next 5-10 years with the end objective of significantly increasing participation.”

LTA chief executive Michael Downey said the unprecedented investment will make tennis more accessible in a Scotland, which sees about 200 days of rain a year and is under-resourced compared to the rest of Britain and other European countries when it comes to the number of covered tennis courts per capita.

The LTA said it is 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.”

The LTA said a full application plan for community-led bids will be established by April 2017.

“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 world’s Top 10, Kyle Edmund breaking the Top 40 and Heather Watson winning mixed doubles at Wimbledon,” said Downey.

“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.”

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 £15 million investment in facilities.

“The £7.5 million sportscotland contribution from our National Lottery investment stream and the LTA’s £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 sport’s 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.”

Sports Minister Aileen Campbell said: “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 said the Scotland plan is stage one of its new community-based tennis funding programme.

It said it will be making further announcements later in 2017 for the remainder of Great Britain.