STUART FRASER

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TENNIS
THEY EXPECTED AROUND 50, BUT HUNDREDS TURNED OUT
The Scotsman
By Stuart Fraser
Thursday 7th July 2011

WEB LINK: http://heritage.scotsman.com/andrewmurray/They-expected-around-50-people.6797200.jp

MURRAY mania descended upon Paisley yesterday as Andy Murray rolled into town and was mobbed by hundreds of kids desperate for a glimpse of the world No.4.

In scenes reminiscent of those witnessed at Wimbledon, Murray was swarmed by autograph hunters and others desperate for a glimpse as he arrived at Brodie Park, along with other members of the British Davis Cup team, to celebrate the impending start of resurfacing work on the courts.

It was something of a homecoming for the Scot who is rarely north of the border these days, his last appearance on court in Scotland being in the Aberdeen Cup back in November 2006, and he seemed quite taken aback by the reaction he got. "It was amazing," he said. "I hadn't really experienced something like that before away from Wimbledon and other big events. I don't get the chance to come back nowadays, but everyone has been so supportive and upbeat. It's refreshing and it's nice."

The event yesterday was originally expected to attract around 50 to 100 people with Andy, his brother Jamie, Ross Hutchins, James Ward and captain Leon Smith joining Judy Murray to promote the resurfacing of the courts following an investment of 160,000 by the Lawn Tennis Association.

But organisers were left stunned at the large turnout. "There were so many people here that I couldn't see Andy until he got through," said Judy.

"He doesn't get back to Scotland very often, so he doesn't really see how much support he has up here. He probably knows it, but to actually witness it in one place like this was quite incredible."

Work on the courts at Renfrewshire Council's Brodie Park, which had become almost derelict, will start today, with the blaes surface being replaced by several all-weather hard courts, and is due to be completed in September.

Judy could not hide her delight at the turnout yesterday, which she feels is a good sign for the future of the new facility and the potential growth of the sport in Scotland. "I think tennis in Scotland is in a great place for growing the game now because of the profile of some of the players," she said.

"But it has to be accessible, affordable and fun, and in order to have those things, it isn't just about the facility, it is about the people who run the facility and create the activity that motivates the kids to want to keep coming back. That is the key to retaining them in the game."

Many of the locals who turned out will have the chance to watch top-class tennis on their doorstep this weekend when Great Britain take on Luxembourg at the Braehead Arena.

It is a tie which has a distinct Scottish flavour, with the Murray brothers, from Dunblane, and Linthgow's Colin Fleming all included in the team which is led by Edinburgh's Smith, and this comes with huge personal satisfaction for Judy who has worked with all of them in the past.

"I think it is great that the Davis Cup in Scotland, I think it is great that we have three Scottish players in the team and I think it's great we have been able to help influence a new facility in a town near the Davis Cup," she said. "That's what it is all about, growing the game and creating opportunities."