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The Herald
By Stuart Fraser
Tuesday 19th April 2011

ANDY MURRAY should enjoy a well-deserved homecoming when he returns to Scotland this summer for the Davis Cup-tie at Braehead, according to the Great Britain captain Leon Smith.

He is full of praise for the effect his former charge has had on tennis north of the border since his arrival on the tennis tour in 2005.

Smith, from Edinburgh, will be proud to lead out his side against Luxembourg in the Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 second-round tie in July. It is a moment which should be made even more special by an appearance of Murray in his country’s colours for the first time since September 2009.

The world No.4 has not played on home soil since he played in the Aberdeen Cup exhibition event in November 2006 and Smith yesterday revealed that the fact Murray is scheduled to play was the main reason why he had decided to stage the tie in Scotland.

“I felt it was appropriate to get the tie in Scotland because Andy is playing,” said Smith. “Obviously, they will have seen a lot of tennis in England in the summer so I think it is good to go a bit further north with Andy being there and get a home crowd behind him.

“The Andy Murray factor is something any nation would cherish. If you look at Serbian tennis, with Novak Djokovic coming through, and Swiss tennis with Martina Hingis and Roger Federer, one of the big factors is having role models, and it is so important to have that in Scottish and British tennis so that there is an identity.”

With Murray a certainty to play, barring injury, and other Scots like his brother Jamie, Colin Fleming and Jamie Baker in the reckoning for a place on the team, it is even possible that the side for the tie could be entirely made up of Scots

It is an indication of the success that Scottish tennis is experiencing and Smith admits he gains some personal satisfaction from that.

“The majority of my career has been spent in Scotland,” he said. “It is only in the last five or six years that I have had a wider role in British tennis. First and foremost, I wear a British tennis hat, but I have so many fond memories of coaching these guys when they were young, so we have got a really close affiliation and relationship which has carried right on through into their adult years.

“I spent so much time at grassroots level in Scotland and I am passionate about that as well. Whether it is [at] Oban tennis club or Mount Vernon, or working at national level in Scotland, it doesn’t matter. It is all about tennis in Scotland and this summer’s tie will be a unique and good moment for me.”