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Judy Murray Hails Davis Cup Success
The "phenomenal success'' of the recent Davis Cup tie in Glasgow shows the huge appetite for tennis in Scotland and highlights the massive opportunity which exists to grow the sport, according to Judy Murray.
The Great Britain Fed Cup captain said neither she nor her sons, Andy and Jamie, had ever experienced an atmosphere like the one at the Emirates Arena at the weekend, where Great Britain beat the US to line up a World Group quarter-final home tie against France.
Coming after a huge year for sport in 2014 - in which Scotland hosted the Commonwealth Games and golf's Ryder Cup - Ms Murray believes there has never been a better time to capitalise on the "buzz'' about the sport she has worked to promote for 25 years.
But she stressed that good public facilities and a workforce of people who can enthuse others and bring on talent are essential if tennis is to continue to grow north of border.
"There is talent everywhere in the country, but talent without opportunity doesn't come to anything,'' she said.
Ms Murray was speaking as she prepared to address about 300 young people interested in exploring a career in sports development or coaching at the Dundee Academy of Sport, a project led by Abertay University.
The talk included her reflections on her rise from being a volunteer coach in Dunblane to working at tennis's elite level with her sons and the GB women's team.
Speaking ahead of the event, she said: "I was a young mum when I started out volunteering at our local club and we had no track record of success in tennis in Scotland - in fact, we had very little tennis in Scotland and no indoor courts when I started out.
"Now there is a massive, massive opportunity to capitalise on the buzz about tennis that's been created by Andy and Jamie's success, and of course I really want to try to grow the game up here.''
Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray sealed the Davis Cup quarter-final place for Great Britain at the weekend with a straight-sets win over American John Isner.
"The Davis Cup was a phenomenal success,'' said Ms Murray.
"The atmosphere at the Emirates Arena was incredible, there was about 8,000 people there. I've never seen anything like it and Andy and Jamie said they'd never played in an atmosphere like that.
"You can see there's a huge appetite for it in Scotland, and for tennis it's the perfect time to capitalise.''
She went on: "For them to play it in Scotland was very, very special. I think it was the first time Andy had played in Scotland since he won his Grand Slams. He found it very emotional.
"I think he gets fantastic support from Scotland, but he's rarely in the country to feel it because when he does something big or is in a big final, obviously he's not here.
"I think when he walked out and heard that roar, it was goosebumps for him.''
Ms Murray said it is a "huge time for sport'' following a major 2014 for Scotland.
She said: "I think last year with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup - massive events in our country, run extremely successfully and extremely popular - and with what we saw last weekend at the Emirates, we have a lot of role models in Scotland and it is the perfect time to invest in sport and physical activity.''
One of the Academy's aims is to develop the region's workforce by providing training and professional development to those working in the leisure industry.
The importance of growing an accomplished sporting workforce and encouraging more women to think about careers in sport are also topics close to Ms Murray's heart.
She said: "Andy and Jamie were just two wee boys from a local club in Dunblane, in a country where there was no track record of tennis, who went on to both win Grand Slam titles.
"I think what that shows is that anything is possible if you have the talent, somebody creates the opportunity and then you work your socks off to get as far as you can. But we've got to believe and we've got to be ambitious.
"Nothing is impossible. Don't accept mediocre. Reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground.''
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