Eve Muirhead: Tennis centre green light has come at perfect time

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Judy Murray wants to point the way forward for Scottish tennis

The green light for Judy Murray’s tennis centre near Dunblane couldn’t have come at a better time.

With Andy’s injury problems since the summer not clearing up, we may have to start getting used to life without him competing for the big titles.

Judy and her boys were determined to get some ‘bricks and mortar’ legacy for their incredible achievements on a tennis court and it looks like, after years of planning issues, they are going to get it.

The profile of the sport will inevitably drop off when Andy is gone so it was critical that this centre got the go-ahead while he was still playing.

I’ve seen in the last few weeks what a big deal getting a national curling centre has been for our sport, so the scale of this tennis development is going to have a huge impact.

Role models are crucial, and the Murrays have already done their bit as far as mentoring young players goes.

But the importance of state-of-the-art facilities can’t be over-stated.

I certainly don’t have any doubts about Judy’s motives.

Yes, she’s been given a profile through her sons that she wouldn’t have got otherwise.

But she was someone who was dedicated to tennis before they hit the big time and I’m pretty confident she’ll be dedicated to it. It’s in her blood and Scottish tennis has a lot to thank her for.

 

* If you want an example of what an Olympic Games means to athletes, our alternate Kelly Schafer is a perfect example.

Kelly is an experienced player who has done most things in the sport.

She has been to two Olympics and won plenty of titles along the way.

Kelly set up home in Canada after marrying a local mayor. She’s got a wee boy and has a good job as an active schools co-ordinator.

But, with hopefully the chance to get an Olympic medal at the end of it, she’s pretty much committed to travelling with us for the whole season, with all that entails for her financially and family-wise.

It’s going to be a big thing for us because we’ve had injury problems in our rink over the past few years so to have such an experienced curler as an integrated part of our team is brilliant.

There will be tournaments where we’ll be using Kelly on the ice. She can play lead, second or third and we’ll all probably have a time when we drop out and rejig the team so we’re ready for any one of us being injured.

Anyway, it all starts next week, and we fly out to Canada on Sunday. We feel like we’ve done all the hard work in the summer to set us up for a great season.

 

* I love the video of Lionel Messi spotting the young autograph-hunter who was huckled away by security that has been getting millions of views online.

Plenty of people fake the whole ‘I love my fans’ thing but Messi showed he’s the real deal.

I’d like to think I always make time for people who want to chat or have me sign something. A man who got me to sign his arm and then got it tattooed has to be the weirdest one I’ve had, mind you!

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