Monday, July 20, 2015

Former coach of Andy Murray visits Broadstairs tennis club

While Andy Murray was helping Britain to their first Davis Cup semi-final in 34 years, a former coach of his was putting the next generation of tennis stars through their paces in Broadstairs.

Jason Barnett, who worked with the 2013 Wimbledon champion when he was just nine, travelled from Aberdeen to Broadstairs & St Peter's Lawn Tennis Club for the weekend.

He held sessions with the club's senior and junior players across the weekend, and believes the future of tennis is bright on the Isle.

"It's lovely," he said. "It's good to come down and play some tennis in an area where there's actually some good weather.

"I've been coaching up in the Highlands and the conditions are tough. It's nice to come down into a lovely, vibrant club, and see familiar faces, get them on court and improving their tennis."

"The enthusiasm in this club is brilliant and what we need to do is capitalise on that.

"Tennis is a sport where I feel it's not embraced enough when we have the biggest tournament on the planet in Wimbledon."

Barnett, now 40 and a former world number one in the over-35 game, believes Murray's achievements can be the catalyst for a spike in tennis participation.

And he still remembers the driven youngster he worked with at Stirling University almost 20 years ago.

"He was feisty as he still is and he wasn't short of telling me his opinions about tennis, even at nine," Barnett said. "You need that forceful attitude and I'm so impressed with his work ethic, how hard he trains and the role model he has become for tennis.

"Hopefully we can get more people playing tennis. Andy winning Wimbledon could hopefully be like a Bjorn Borg effect in this country, where all the boys will be inspired and catch on to that dream and maybe think they can achieve it.

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