Rundown public tennis courts branded a “shambles” by Sir Andy Murray are to be revamped and reopened in time for summer – with the hope of more investment in the future.
The move comes after the dilapidated Whitemoss Tennis Courts at John Wright Sports Center were slammed by local resident Allan Kay and his daughter Matilda – which then caught the attention of two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
Allan was shocked when he turned up with eight year-old Matilda last year to find the clay courts locked up and left to rot.
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He took to Twitter and tagged the tennis superstar – along with his tennis champion brother Jamie and their mum/coach Judy – in a post highlighting the issue.
And to his surprise, the three-time Grand Slam champion took time out of his US Open preparations to re-Tweet the post.
Andy branded the courts a “shambles” on his Twitter page prompting calls from the public and politicians for something to be done.
At the time South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC), who run the facility, were unable to support improvement works under current council budgets restraints.
But they have now revealed plans to resurface and re-line the courts with new nets and posts ahead of the summer holidays.
Allan told Lanarkshire Live: “This is good progress, a great temporary fix and good news that children and adults can make use of the courts over summer.
“Matilda is a member of East Kilbride Tennis Club now and will be looking forward to getting to play there again and getting more practice in.
“I hope there will be more funding in the future to get better courts there.”
It is hoped more money will be ploughed into the facility if South Lanarkshire Council’s (SLC) park renovation bid, which was rejected by Tennis Scotland, is earmarked for additional funding.
Tennis Scotland are to carry out a scoping exercise at Whitemoss this month to identify the level of funding needed if the application is successful.
East Kilbride Tennis Club head coach Luke Quigley said up to £200,000 would be needed for a top surface alone but agreed the latest news was “a step in the right direction”.
He told us: “Whitemoss needs massive funding from Tennis Scotland. We tried to fundraise to get the courts open again but it never came to much.
“We’d love to get involved and use the courts to expand our club and use the Pavillion as a clubhouse but we just wouldn’t have the financial contribution to help with the upkeep.
“The council have taken the least expensive option at the moment to make the surface playable, but getting them open for summer is a step in the right direction.
“When Emma Raducanu won the US Open it was all about getting public tennis courts open. Long-term it would be a fantastic plan to look at.”
SLC submitted to Park Renovation Fund Bid to Tennis Scotland at the start of the year with the aim of improving Whitemoss Tennis Courts.
The bid was unsuccessful as funding criteria stipulates that tennis courts need to be located within a ‘park’ to qualify.
After further discussions with Tennis Scotland last month, they confirmed there could potentially still be scope to fund additional applications within their budget.
East Kilbride MP Dr Lisa Cameron said: “I am delighted in follow up to my enquiry, that there is work underway to upgrade Whitemoss Tennis Courts to make them available to the public this year and that there are also ongoing discussions with Tennis Scotland around a long term future for this facility for residents in East Kilbride.”
A spokesman for SLLC said: “Tennis Scotland will carry out a scoping exercise at Whitemoss Tennis Courts in the near future to determine options for the development of the courts for the long term.
“This will also identify the level of funding that would be required should the council’s application for funding be successful, and we will also continue to work alongside SportScotland and Tennis Scotland to explore all opportunities to seek appropriate funding for tennis provision.
“In the meantime, plans are in place to improve the Whitemoss courts for this summer.
“New posts and nets have been purchased and the council’s Land Services Team will provide a new layer of crest surfacing, while line tape and nails will complete the work once they have come back into stock with the supplier, allowing the courts to be ready for play.”
Tennis Scotland told Lanarkshire Live they would comment once a decision on funding has been made.
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