Scots tennis supremo and erstwhile Strictly star Judy Murray visited the Borders last week as part of her Tennis on the Road programme.
Designed to give local coaches an insight into the training routines that so successfully caught the continued attention of Judy’s sons Andy and Jamie, the roadshow rolled into Galashiels on Thursday and Peebles on Friday.
Anyone expecting to see the rather stiff, awkward Judy shown on the popular dancing show, were pleasantly surprised, as when she is in her element – on a tennis court with a racquet in hand and eager youngsters hanging on her every word – this is a Judy that is smiling, engaging, highly knowledgeable and personable.
The sessions were a massive hit all the coaches involved – who all brought along some of their young stars to take part.
Jennifer Mole, who coaches at Coldstream’s Lennel club, brought along her two daughters.
She said: “It is fabulous. Judy is really engaging ... she has lots of great tips in how to engage kids.
“It’s not all about having a tennis racquet in your hand, it’s about motor skills and teamwork.
“The teams are set up with pupils of different qualities and abilities, so they are all working together as a team.”
Local tennis coaches, as well as Judy Murray, are in one mind as to what the Borders needs if the region is to nurture top-class talent.
Jennifer Mole said: “It would be great if the Borders had an indoor facility as we can only train for six months a year and then send kids up to Edinburgh if they want to continue training. The costs involved are certainly prohibitive.”
Judy Murray added: “There is always talent everywhere, but it needs opportunity to develop. Opportunity often comes in the form of a PE teacher or a coach, but it also comes in the form of a facility. What the Borders could probably do with for tennis to become an all year round sport, and to build a stronger coaching workforce – coaching can’t become a career if you are only doing it for six months of the year – is an indoor facility.”