“Maybe it’s something I should have given more thought to while I was playing but I never felt that was my job to do that. It is a little bit disappointing. I don’t understand how in the last eight to 10 years that participation is dropping, I don’t get it.”
Participation measurements always have an element of guesswork about them, but the trend does seem to be a negative one. The last Active People survey carried out by Sport England registered a 59,000 drop in once-a-week adult players over the 10 years between 2006 to 2016, from 457,000 to 398,000.
Murray’s comments coincide with a crucial time in his mother Judy’s plans regarding her Park of Keir project. Her proposals for a multi-sport centre, based primarily around tennis and golf, have received in-principle clearance from the Scottish government.
But she still needs another £6m to fund debt-free construction of the tennis section (£18m to £20m for the whole thing) and it will be interesting to see whether the Lawn Tennis Association are prepared to help.
It is understood that the LTA have a development fund for construction projects. At the moment, though, there are no guarantees that Judy Murray will receive anything from the fund, which would leave crowdfunding and philanthropists to make up the difference. Her intention is to avoid taking out a loan, in order to keep costs down, and thus make the whole facility more accessible.