Friday, 12 July 2013

Andy Murray, Britain's new sporting poster boy could hand kids a second chance at tennis

Three members of tennis' 'Big Four' are the faces of three separate foundations that support those in need, the absent one is two-time Grand Slam champion and newly crowned Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic's foundation's main incentive is to help children in his home country of Serbia get a fulfilling education, which will lead them onto living fruitful lives. World No. 4 Rafael Nadal's foundation, which formed in November 2007, aims to help discriminated children who face exclusion from society live a better lifestyle, usually through the passion of sport. Close friend and rival with Rafa, Roger Federer's, allows younger people living in misfortune to take control of their lives and make it better. All three have worthy incentives, and all with pretty much the same vision, but Andy Murray's aim in the future, may not be to help those in poverty, but to enhance the declining popularity of a sport that has been played, whether in small numbers or large numbers in Britain since the late 1850's.

Tennis is a sport that takes the forefront in Britain for two weeks of the year. During the Wimbledon Championships, where the likes of Djokovic, Murray, Nadal and Federer are battling for a place in the history books and to have their names engraved in the world of tennis forever. The pressure to be written into the history books was mainly on Murray, who was determined not to follow the assembly line of British born players before him, but to become the first British male singles champion in 77 years after Fredrick Perry lifted his last Wimbledon trophy in 1936. From Murray's first Wimbledon match against Swiss veteran George Bastl to his heart-wrenching final with another Swiss Roger Federer in the summer of 2012, the 26-year-old from the quaint town of Dunblane in Scotland, was unable to push hard at the pressure and expectation laid upon him. Whether he would fall at the semi final stage or even the final Murray could never shake off the ghost that had haunted him since 2005, until now. It took him eight long years, but on July 7th he finally made the cut. Swatting off the likes of Fernando Verdasco, Jerzy Janowicz and Novak Djokovic in the final, he was able to lift the golden trophy aloft in pride.

Andy Murray celebrating winning a point at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships (BBC Sport)

Since then, we have seen a steady rise of kids out on the courts, hitting a few balls and genuinely enjoying the sport, but Andy's mum and childhood coach, Judy has said that she fears the sport in Britain will not capitalise on her younger son's success. Adding that 'we simply do not have the facilities to do so' and 'courts must be built in areas that do not currently have them', and she is absolutely right. Very few places have suitable, well-maintained courts that have sufficient resources for children to play with, and with the funding for the already existing tennis clubs to have a sustainable program that allow children of all ages to sign up for lessons where they can hone their skills being cut considerably, it will not be long before the sport may no longer be of use to us. That is where Andy comes into the picture. When he decides to put the racquets back in the bag forever and never step on a tennis court professionally again, that would be the time that he can give the historic sport a second chance. Building funded tennis centres around the country and in the area in which he grew up in could be the first step in the long fight back from the grave. Then finding experienced qualified coaches to assist him in finding the talents of the pack and pushing them higher into sport, where they could turn professional and represent our country, it may then not be seven or more decades until the people of Britain have something to cheer about.   


  1. A very informative and well-written blog. Not only have you pointed out the worthy charitable works carried out by the Foundations of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, something a lot of tennis fans probably aren't aware of, but more importantly you've drawn attention to the bleak future which could await British tennis once Murray retires. Judy Murray is right, we have to capitalise on her son's many achievements before it's too late. There will, after all, need to be some basic foundations laid now for him to build on when he finally hangs up his racquet, and it would be a great shame if all the inspiration and enthusiasm he has brought to this country were allowed to go to waste.

  2. Are you any relation to Charley?