By Ros Satar
- The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and sportscotland announced a £15m joint-funding agreement to start in 2017
- Follows on from another outstanding year of British Tennis with particular successes for Andy Murray, brother Jamie Murray and Gordon Reid
The LTA and sportscotland announced a £15m joint-finding agreement to transform tennis in Scotland on Tuesday.
The plan will look to double the number of covered courts from 112 to 225 over the next 510 years, and the end objective is to significantly increase participation in tennis, thus delivering on a legacy set down by the successes of Andy Murray, his brother and doubles specialist Jamie Murray and wheelchair champion Gordon Reid.
LTA Chief Executive Michael Downey highlighted an historic year for British Tennis. The men’s Davis Cup team reached the semi-finals as the reigning champions, Johanna Konta finished the season in the Top 10, British men’s No. 2 Kyle Edmund broke into the Top 40 and Heather Watson teamed up with Henri Kontinen to win the Mixed Doubles title at Wimbledon.
Downey went on to say, in a statement by the LTA: “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 capita.”
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. ”
The LTA is the National Governing Body for tennis and under the brand of British Tennis they promote a mission to get more people tennis more often. sportscotland is the lead agency for the development of sport in Scotland, and Tennis Scotland will work alongside them and the LTA to make tennis more inclusive for anyone to participate and enjoy.
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.”
Murray, who was crowned with a record third BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday will start his season at the invitational Mubadala World Tennis Championships before starting the season proper in Doha.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championships start on 29 December.
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