Judy Murray has set her sights on parts of Scotland where tennis is yet to take off and her travels have lead her to the iconic court on the Isle of Harris.
Judy Murray and her coaching team are touring Scotland with aims to bring tennis to a whole new generation of children. Supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, Tennis on the Road aims to give parents, coaches, teachers and volunteers the tools needed to get children active.
Following on from Set4Sport and based on the games that Judy enjoyed with her sons Jamie and Andy when they were young, Tennis on the Road showcased simple fun activities using everyday low-cost household objects. These sessions cost little to set up and will help develop the vital ABCs of sport – agility, balance and coordination.
Tennis on the Road kicked off in September with a special one day event at Bunabhainneadar tennis court on the Isle of Harris, the most remote tennis court in the British Isles, followed by a taster session for the residents of Stornoway.
Armed with a minibus full of tennis equipment Judy is set to take advantage of the popularity surge tennis has seen in recent years which can be largely put down to the success of her son, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. She is a woman on a mission that even the shine of the Strictly glitter ball won’t distract her from.
“We want to make sure that we grow the game,” she told the Gazette while in the Western Isles. “There is a lot of interest in tennis at the moment and has been for the last three or four years and it’s very important for tennis to capitalise on that buzz and to be able to take the sport into places where either it doesn’t exist or doesn’t have a big presence.
“The main thing we’re doing is showing parents, teachers and volunteers how to run tennis classes and tennis competitions. We want to educate a workforce - you need facilities of course but you need people to drive activities and they don’t always have to be people who are qualified coaches.”
She explained: “I started off as a volunteer coach at our local club when our kids were tiny and sort of developed from there as a coach and I’ve never lost my appetite for spreading the word of tennis and saying what a great sport it is. We just have this massive opportunity right now - we’ve got a role model, we’ve got a big buzz about it - we absolutely have to take advantage of that.”
The visit to the Western Isles also gave Judy the chance to visit the iconic court at Bunabhainneadar on the road to Husinish, North Harris, which she described as “absolutely gorgeous”.
She explained: “I’d seen pictures of the court in Harris before because it’s such a stunning one. It’s actually a lot more famous than people realise around the world because it’s often dubbed as the world’s most remote tennis court and the backdrop is just stunning, it’s phenomenal.”
But part of the message Judy is trying to get across is that you don’t need to have access to a tennis court to introduce young people to the sport.
“There are obviously tennis courts on the island which is great but you’ve got to make sure there is activity on them and that people are using them. The most important thing is to have fun and make sure people enjoy what they are doing.
“It’s also for the parents to get out and play with the kids. It doesn’t have to be about playing with them on a tennis court you just need to have a surface where the ball will bounce, a driveway, a couple of chairs and rope and just use you imagination and have a go at it. If kids want to try it make sure they have somewhere to play and someone to show and teach them.”
She added: “You never, never would have dreamt that you would have a Wimbledon Men’s Singles champion from Scotland. Never, never! It is massive and that’s why we need to take the opportunity to go with the momentum.”
To find out more about Tennis on the Road please go to www.tennisontheroad.com