Murray effect fails to popularize tennis in Scotland

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London, Aug 2 (ANI): Andy Murray's heroics at Wimbledon and tournaments around the world have volleyed the profile of Scottish tennis to unprecedented new heights, but an international sports conference has heard that the "Andy Murray effect" has failed to materialise in his native land.

Academic and tennis coach Fiona Reid claims the number of people playing the sport in Scotland has actually fallen in recent years.

While Murray's spectacular progress from precocious youngster to Grand Slam contender has captured the attention of the public, Reid believes a lack of facilities has prevented a tennis boom-taking place.

The PhD student gave an address on the "Murray effect" at the recent International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES) conference at Stirling University. Reid admitted she had been surprised by the findings of her research on the topic, The Scotsman reported.

She said: "When I started out I thought that the success of Andy Murray would lead to a clear increase in the number of people playing tennis in Scotland. But surprisingly, that doesn't appear to have been the case."

In fact the latest available figures supplied by sportscotland, the government-backed agency, suggest tennis as a minor sport in decline.

Reid believes the opportunity to capitalise on increased media coverage of Murray's exploits has been hampered by the deterioration and disappearance of grassroots courts and coaching.

She claimed there were fewer places for youngsters or novices to play casually.

She added that reports of Scottish courts being filled to capacity following Murray's run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, may not be particularly significant.

However, the national tennis body agreed that the lack of suitable facilities did pose major problems for the future of the sport.

Earlier this year a survey of the 32 councils in Scotland revealed that a third do not have any courts at all, while four just have one tennis facility and only four offer free access for under-16s. (ANI)

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