Students at a Perth secondary school were lucky enough to receive a visit from tennis superstar Judy Murray on Tuesday as part of a new Scottish Government project.
The sports coach, who is the mother of tennis sensations Andy and Jamie Murray, visited Perth Grammar School on Tuesday morning to launch a new online resource which allows schools to provide tennis training without any special equipment.
Online curriculum from Murray herself
The new service comes in the form of an online training resource for children aged five to 18.
Judy Murray presents the online lessons herself, explaining different games, techniques and drills which improve tennis performance.
Pupils in Perth were lucky enough to test some of the training routines for themselves on Tuesday, with Judy explaining things in person.
She said: “I’ve actually travelled across most of Scotland with my various tennis programs over the last eight years.
“I’ve been trying to get more kids, teens and adults engaged in either playing tennis or delivering tennis in order to increase participation numbers.
“I came to Perth Grammar and delivered a two hour workshop for teachers, sports leaders, young ambassadors, to show them how they could deliver tennis within whatever space they had, whether it was the playground, the school running track, the school gym.
“All of my content which is housed in this tennis resource covers the whole curriculum from age five through to 18.”
Aim to find ‘the next Andy or Jamie Murray’
The project also plans to nurture a love of tennis in the next generation, with aims to find ‘the next Andy or Jamie Murray.’
Judy said: “There’s some really good kids here today, most of them have never played tennis before.
“We’ve been playing for about an hour now and we started off just with some skill-building stuff, got them to a simple rally stage and they feel like they’re playing tennis now.
“This has all happened in the space of an hour in a school playground so we know that it works, there are lots of kids here who are very well coordinated and maybe good at other sports.
“I think people who haven’t had a go before should give it a try, it’s one of those sports that you can play for life, you can start at five on a mini-court now and play well into your eighties.
“You can actually get started anyway.”
Pandemic a ‘real challenge’ for tennis
The famous mum also spoke about her two sons and their experience during the pandemic.
She said: “Like everything else the tennis tours have had to adapt to meet the pandemic and of course because it’s a global tennis tour every country has a completely different situation and different rules and so forth, so I think it’s been very tricky for the players.
“I think they’re very grateful that they can still compete, but it’s been a real challenge for them.
“There’s a lot of stress involved, there’s a lot of additional costs involved, there’s no fans, there’s no atmosphere, it’s a very different world that they’ve had to operate in for the last 15 months.
“Hopefully we’re coming out of it now, they’re starting to see small crowds again, I think that in itself is helping to give a bit of an atmosphere.”
Visit a ‘great opportunity’ for Perth pupils
Headteacher Fiona Robertson was also very happy to have her pupils taking part in the event, saying: “We’re absolutely delighted to have Judy join us at Perth Grammar School.
“It’s a great opportunity for our young people and it really does emphasize everything that she believes in and it’s all stuff that we can deliver here.
“I’m very happy to say that we’ve started a Monday after-school club for tennis and that’s taken off really well so we’re very excited to see that grow next term.
“I think its so clear that the kids have enjoyed themselves, I think it’s been superb.”