Before her son easily cruised past the Slovenian Blaz Rola in straight sets on a sun-drenched Court Number One at Wimbledon, Judy Murray spoke of her hopes for the giant Scottish tennis and golf academy she is planning with Colin Montgomerie.
As she doled out coffees to the drowsy campers at the front of the tournament’s famous queue, the mother of the defending champion admitted that she has been struggling to get planning permission for the 260-acre site at Park of Keir in Stirlingshire, but was undeterred.
“It will be a very special thing for me to be able to leave something like that behind,” the 54-year-old said.
The development, which will comprise a tennis and golf academy as well as 100 private homes, has had to be scaled back in the wake of a public consultation. Local residents are concerned that it could could eventually lead to the merging of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, the two towns between which it is situated.
In response, Ms Murray and Mr Montgomerie have made some adjustments to the plans – but the project is still an ambitious one. It will include six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, a six-hole golf course with accompanying practice range, a hotel and a restaurant. The planning application is now expected to be submitted in July.
Ms Murray, who is rapidly becoming a celebrity in her own right, has this week been linked with a slot on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, of which she is a well known fan. But she remained coy about the rumours, saying: “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.” Asked if she thought she would make it through to the final, she replied: “I’m only going to be watching it on television.”
Despite the scrum of people craning their necks to get a glimpse of her and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who joined her to chat to the hardcore queuers, she said she still didn’t feel famous: “I don’t think I am a celebrity – I am a coach and for me it’s nice to able to raise the profile of tennis, talk as a parent and a promoter of women’s sports.” But she admitted: “I definitely get recognised a lot more so I tend not to be able to anywhere quickly.”
Today was a good day for the expanding Murray empire. Not only did the Wimbledon champion breeze into the third round, easily defeating his opponent 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 in less than 90 minutes, but he received the news that the luxury hotel near his home town of Dunblane has been awarded a five-star rating by the Scottish tourist board.
Murray has overseen the comprehensive refurbishment of Cromlix since he bought it in February last year. It has earned favourable reviews since opening in April and VisitScotland announced yesterday it had earned its top rating.