Judy Murray calls on the Lawn Tennis Association to do more to help young players breakthrough

Murray says the LTA did not do enough to help Andy at the beginning of his career

Jack Watson
Monday 09 October 2017 16:57
Murray was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival
Murray was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

Judy Murray has slammed the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) for creating a ‘horrendous financial struggle’ when Andy Murray started to develop into a senior ATP Tour player, urging the governing body to do more to financially support young players.

“The LTA didn’t help very much” said Murray, who had to find £35k to send Andy to the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona when he was just 15, to help him on his journey to becoming one of the best players in the world.

“They offered me £10k. I said ‘you haven’t got anyone else. You’ve got nobody else doing what he’s doing. You haven’t got anywhere in this country.’ I didn’t get it at all.

“He’d outgrown Scotland, he was the best in Europe for his age at the time,” she added, before calling on the body to do far more to support young players as they attempt to develop into full-time athletes.

“We need to look at the cost. They need environments in which to do the next stage. If you look at Andy going to Barcelona or Jamie going to train in Paris, my kids play completely differently from each other so it’s not a ‘one size fits all.’ Their skills are completely different so they needed different paths to do what they did.”

In 2017 the LTA introduced the Pro Scholarship Programme (PSP), which offers up to 12 promising British tennis players ‘the expertise and resources required to maximise their chances of becoming successful, financially independent tennis professionals capable of performing with distinction at the highest level.’

Murray wants the LTA to do more to help younger players

Applicants must be older than 16 and be judged to have the potential to reach a top 200 individual ATP/WTA ranking in the next 1-4 years.

The LTA currently offers no support to aspiring players younger than 16 but is exploring the possible provision of means-tested player development grants through a third-party foundation but, going forward, will not provide funding to individual players below the level of PSP.

“I would put our best coaches with the 10-14-year olds and then once they get to maybe 15, and they’re looking good enough, I would put them overseas,” added Murray, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival about her book Knowing the Score, in which she recalls her experiences developing Andy and Jamie into world number one tennis players.

“If you’re trying to prepare players for the international circuit, you should put them into an international environment.

“I think that we need to invest in the coaching workforce from top to bottom. If we have more better coaches, we’d have more better players. If we have more international coaches, we’d have more international players.”

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