Andy Murray’s mum urges St Albans council

Judy Murray “very sad” to see derelict courts at Batchwood

THE MUM of Andy Murray, Britain’s No 1 tennis player, credits his use of a public indoor sports arena, similar to the Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre, for helping to set her son on the path to success.

Judy Murray, one of the world’s most famous sports mothers, is rallying behind efforts in St Albans to rebuild Batchwood, destroyed in a suspected arson attack on August 10.

Showing solidarity with local tennis players determined to have the centre rebuilt, Judy spent time with budding tennis stars and their parents, just days before Andy won the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship in Tokyo.

He and talented brother Jamie also had victory in the doubles tournament at the event.

At London Colney Adventure World on Thursday, Judy explained she had been told of the blaze by good friend Mandy Franks, who set up the Batchwood tennis programme 23 years ago. She also visited Harpenden Sports Centre on Friday.

She applauded Mandy’s efforts in continuing the programme at alternative facilities in the district despite the difficult circumstances.

Most Read

Judy urged St Albans district council to rebuild Batchwood as quickly as possible, as players need a permanent base.

After visiting the now demolished site, Judy praised the hilltop location for its countryside feel and said: “It is very sad to look and see the derelict courts, debris floating around and a digger at Batchwood.

“What was there before was the nucleus of what was going on. It has to be rebuilt and it has to be done in a way that allows you to grow.”

She is passionate about rebuilding Batchwood as it was one of the first indoor tennis centres set up by local authorities in conjunction with the Lawn Tennis Association, and was one of just 19 performance tennis centres in the UK.

A similar facility was built in Scotland, on the Stirling University campus that Jamie and Andy once trained in.

Judy said: “If that hadn’t been built there, they mightn’t have played tennis. You need these places to be accessible and affordable.”

Mandy agreed that public sector tennis was important, describing Batchwood as a hub.

St Albans district council portfolio holder for sports, Cllr Mike Wakely, said: “It is great that Judy Murray is giving up her time to support tennis in the district. As a council we are doing everything we can to progress our plans to rebuild Batchwood.”