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Game, Set Match! Judy Murray opens Irvine Tennis Courts

Posted on 15 Sep 2023

Judy Murray OBE has officially opened Irvine’s Thornhouse Avenue new-look tennis courts.

The retired tennis coach – mother of tennis aces Andy and Jamie Murray, attracted an excited audience of over 100 residents to Irvine Tennis Community’s revamped tennis courts on Monday evening 11, September.

With a bustling atmosphere, North Ayrshire Council Leader Marie Burns and Depute Leader Shaun Macaulay, Chair of Irvine Locality Partnership, were also amongst those in attendance at the ceremony.

Chris McKenna, secretary of the tennis club shared: “Thank you to our esteemed guest Judy for opening our new tennis and pickleball courts today and everyone who helped to make this possible.

“The groundworks are now complete and as you can see, the foundations have now been laid for a replacement pavilion for changing and racquet hire.

“A special shout-out to Elaine Baxter, our locality officer who, alongside everyone else in the Irvine Locality Partnership backed us from the get-go, helped secure the premises and the incredible £100k funding from North Ayrshire Council – without their support we wouldn’t have made the progress we have made to today.”

Cutting the ribbon, in her opening speech, Judy Murray OBE said: “The last time I was here there was red blaes and lines going everywhere and just look it this incredible facility now.

“I am a huge believer in community sport and the power behind.It provides so many life lessons and especially in Scotland when the weather can be terrible but you still get on with it, games like community tennis really teach resilience – just look at my kids, they have it in spades and they climbed their way through to become champions.

“Well done everyone and thank you to community groups like Irvine Tennis Community who are championing community sport…

“What you have achieved over the last few years is incredible and to have the option to play pickleball too will offer so many opportunities for players of all ages and abilities.”

Councillor Macaulay added: “It is great to see the tennis courts in Irvine being revitalised and restored -  and a wonderful example of community empowerment in action.

“Irvine Locality Partnership teamed up with Irvine Tennis Community to get a committee together with additional support from Castlepark and Bourtreehill volunteers passionate about tennis to secure the lease via a community asset transfer - and then subsequently £100,000 funding from North Ayrshire’s Community Investment fund to bring the space back into use.”

Securing this community asset transfer provided the required legal status for the Club to attract external funding – including £100,000 from SportScotland which will be invested to develop the courts and deliver a range of opportunities to the local community.

“And now that the current space has been reconfigured – with the inclusion of floodlights for all-year play coming for early next year, the club will soon be poised to meet the national requirements to host competitions, putting Irvine firmly on the tennis map.”

Since opening last month, the tennis club’s weekly sessions have attracted a host of players and the club has also hosted a series of training sessions for sports coaches working with players with additional support needs.

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Communities and Islands, said: “Irvine Tennis Club has done a tremendous job to transform the condition of the courts as well as engaging with the local community to build demand and get them involved in the sport.  

“This incredible tennis facility will go a long way in helping to increase physical activity, reduce social isolation, and improve the quality of life and wellbeing of all those that take part.  

“Congratulations to Irvine Tennis Community for the progress made at Thornhouse Avenue and to our Irvine Locality Partnership for helping them every step of the way.”