Andy Murray welcomes investment in wake of Emma Raducanu’s success

  • Government has pledged £22m for public courts
  • Watson loses to Stephens in Indian Wells first round

Andy Murray has stressed the importance of continuing to capitalise on Emma Raducanu’s success in the wake of the announcement last weekend of a £22m government investment in public tennis courts.

“It’s very positive,” said Murray, speaking in his pre-tournament press conference at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. “I knew that [the Lawn Tennis Association] was going to the government to try to get some money to refurbish a lot of the park courts. I recorded a little video for it. It’s great for tennis anyway if the government supports this. I have spoken about the importance of capitalising on the success of what Emma has done and will likely do in the future.”

Throughout his career Murray has been critical of the same organisations’ failures to consolidate his own success, speaking out regularly about the state of public courts around the country. “There are certain areas where we can do with maybe a few more indoor courts, certainly up in Scotland,” he said. “A lot of those public courts are in pretty bad condition from what I have seen. I saw a post online a few weeks ago about some park courts that had grass growing up to your knees. Clearly it is something that needs to be done and needs to be invested in – and hopefully that makes tennis more accessible for people to play.”

Murray also commended the ATP’s completion of its safeguarding review, with the organisation announcing an investigation into domestic violence allegations against Alexander Zverev from his ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova. Murray had previously been critical of the ATP’s failure to react to the allegations when they were first made. Zverev has repeatedly denied all of the allegations against him.

“You have to try to look at the positives of what’s coming from that and that, yes, it has taken a little bit too long but now there is going to be a process in place and protocol possible based on allegations that were made. So I see it as being a positive step, although one that probably should have happened sooner. The investigation is ongoing now and now that it is happening, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on it until it has run its course.”

Zverev later gave his first public response to the ATP’s internal investigation. “Bloody finally, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been asking them myself for months now. I’ve been asking them to do that since London last year, because it’s very hard for me, as you guys know, to clear my name, and only with something like this I can completely.”

In his first match at Indian Wells since 2017, Murray faces the world No 51 Adrian Mannarino of France and the winner will face the 18‑year‑old Carlos Alcaraz in the second round.

Since his five-set defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, Murray has reached the quarter-finals at an ATP 250 in Metz and the second round in San Diego. In both events he lost against the eventual champion: the world No 13 Hubert Hurkacz in Metz and the world No 10 Casper Ruud in San Diego.

Heather Watson’s campaign at Indian Wells came to an end in the first round. The British No 2 won the first set against the US’s Sloane Stephens but slipped to a 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-1 defeat.

Contributor

Tumaini Carayol

The GuardianTramp

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