Tayside and Central Scotland

Murray calls for Scottish national tennis academy

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Media captionInterview - British tennis number one Andy Murray

Andy Murray has backed the idea of a new national tennis academy in Scotland to encourage promising junior players.

The US Open champion was speaking as thousands of fans turned out to see him on a walkabout in his hometown of Dunblane after his triumph in New York.

Murray visited the club where he had started out as a youngster and said he would like to see national facilities to support tennis in Scotland.

He said a new tennis academy would make a big difference to the sport.

Murray, 25, told BBC Scotland: "One of the things that is missing is a focal point for tennis that a lot of the promising juniors can go to practise at and have the best coaching.

"They have it in London but that doesn't always work for everybody.

"People like different environments and I think it would be nice if we could have a quality national tennis centre.

"It doesn't need to cost £40m like the one in Roehampton cost - it will be much, much less than that. But if we could have something like that, I think it would make a big difference.

"It's a suggestion I will make and we'll see what happens.

"I know how difficult things like that can be to pass off and it is a lot of money as well but it would be a nice thing to have and I will support it."

Existing facilities

Scotland already has a national centre for tennis based at the University of Stirling.

The Gannochy National Tennis Centre, where Murray trained as a child, has six indoor courts and two outside clay courts.

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Media captionThe moment Murray won the US Open

The US Open champion and his mother, Judy, discussed the idea of a tennis academy with the first minister during a meeting in Dunblane on Sunday.

Alex Salmond said: "Both Andy and Judy are passionate about developing tennis in Scotland to ensure that youngsters have a greater access to the facilities and coaching that they need to make the most of their talent and potential.

"We had a positive discussion about their idea for a tennis academy which is certainly in line with the Scottish government's ambition to improve young Scots participation in sport.

"We'll be exploring this with the Murrays and their team over the next two months and we hope to make an announcement in this regard in the near future."

World number three Murray became the UK's first Grand Slam men's singles champion for 76 years when he beat Novak Djokovic in five sets the US Open final at Flushing Meadows last Monday.

This summer he has also won gold and silver at the London 2012 Olympics - in the men's singles and mixed doubles respectively - and been runner-up at Wimbledon.

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