Oh I say! Andy Murray serves up a nationwide tennis bounce as children flock to courts

Wimbledon triumph has inspired a generation to try the game

Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray is inspiring a generation of children and young people up and down the country to pick up a tennis racquet and participate in the sport, an analysis by The Independent has found.

Tennis academies and clubs up and down the country have reported a “Murray bounce” after seeing an upsurge in the numbers of children and young people either inquiring about joining or signing up for membership since his historic win at the All England Club last month. 

The Independent contacted more than 30 clubs and academies of different sizes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, of which 20 responded. Of these, 18 said they had seen an upsurge, either through membership figures or anecdotally.

It is not yet known whether the 26-year-old’s straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic in this year’s Wimbledon final will continue to inspire a generation, but early indications suggest there has been a significant surge in young people wanting to play the game.

Murray’s mother Judy told The Independent: “It’s just great to hear that, as it’s such a wonderful opportunity for tennis to really grow the numbers. There’s a huge buzz about our sport at the moment, so it’s vital that clubs and parks are able to cater for kids and adults who want to try. The key, of course, is in the retention of those new players and that comes down to accessibility, affordability and fun.”

The Queen’s Club in west London which hosts the prestigious Queen’s Club Championships, said its summer holiday camps which are put on for members and guests were “busier this year than ever”.

Similarly, the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy in south-west London said numbers had doubled since Murray’s historic win. Despite slipping to No 3 seed, all eyes will be on the British number one again next week, as he battles to retain his US Open title.

“We run the summer camps from literally the day after Wimbledon for eight weeks and we’ve been going for four years, and our numbers have doubled,” said Mel Coleman, a partner at the academy. “You ask the kids who their favourite is and they now say Andy Murray. Over an eight-week period we have about 300 children playing – up from about 150-180 kids last year. There must be an element of the Andy Murray effect,” he added.

Adrian Moll, head coach at Maidstone Tennis Academy, in Kent, said: “Talking to fellow coaches around the country, they all see an increase in participation. Summer camps are filling up faster and more kids are trying it out for the first time.”

But he warned he didn’t think it would improve British tennis overall, because “British parents aren’t committed enough”.

“Children have too much to choose from, so they don’t commit to one thing,” said Mr Moll. “It’s the same with the parents: they won’t commit the time and the money.”

Coaches in Murray’s native country also reported an increase in participation. Mike Cohen, tennis development manager at Tennis Scotland, said: “We’ve definitely seen an increase. Club activities are a lot busier and the summer camps are filling up. A lot of new kids are coming to camps.”

After Murray’s win, Tennis Scotland and glasgowlife.org.uk ran a campaign to increase the interest in tennis, promoting courts free of charge and online booking of courts. The campaign saw web traffic grow by 320 per cent.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body of tennis in Britain, said it was too early to see exact figures post-Wimbledon. But they said weekly participation of tennis was up 18 per cent at the end of last year in England to 445,100.

And it isn’t just Murray: Heather Watson and Laura Robson’s efforts in the women’s tournament have encouraged the numbers of girls competing regularly. In the past three years, the under-12s playing the sport has nearly doubled to almost 8,000. 

Rob Dearing, of the LTA’s participation team, said: “The success of our players has provided British tennis with a great opportunity. We have the chance to translate a moment of inspiration into a lifetime passion for the sport.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people Ex-wife of John Lennon has died at her home in Spain
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a security software com...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing / Sales Co-ordinator - OTE £25,000+

£10000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of staffing and r...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen Porter

£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the four inns of Court is seeking...

Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the four inns of Court i...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?