East Kilbride Tennis Club are embarking on a fundraising quest aimed at taking over public tennis courts at the John Wright Sports Centre.

Head coach Luke Quigley says they’re in talks with South Lanarkshire Council over a community asset transfer, and with Tennis Scotland for funding, but says it would be an extension of the club, rather than a move to Whitemoss.

The move comes after the dire state of the courts was highlighted by local resident Allan Kay and his daughter Matilda – which then caught the attention of tennis superstar Andy Murray.

The two-time Wimbledon champion branded the courts a “shambles” on his Twitter page and it has prompted calls from the public and politicians for something to be done.

South Lanarkshire Leisure, who run the facility, are unable to support improvement works under current council budgets restraints.

But now EKTC are holding a fundraising open day from 10am- 2pm on Saturday in the hope of getting things moving.

The aim is to raise £2000, but Quigley says the least they will need for the court takeover will be £5000, and it could grow to as much as £200,000 all in.

Eight-year-old Matilda Kay and her dad Allan highlighted the issue, which attracted a comment from Andy Murray
Eight-year-old Matilda Kay and her dad Allan highlighted the issue, which attracted a comment from Andy Murray

Quigley – who will also be raising fund for Cash for Kids on the day – says whether this gets into full swing next year, or takes three or four years, depends on how they do with fundraising, and what backing they get.

He said: “We’re in talks right now with Tennis Scotland to see if we can get some funding for it, but we need to put quite a lot of money towards it ourselves as well.

“We need to get some fundraising events going, and we’ve got one planned for this weekend, just putting on some fun games like a ‘beat the coach’ challenge, a fast serve challenge with a speed gun, and people can come up and donate whatever they can for it.

“We have an American tournament on for our adult members and non-members, we have a parent-and-child fun tournament, and for the rest of the time over the weekend we’ll just be doing some fun games and opening up the courts for free to whoever fancies coming down, really.

“Our target through Cash For Kids is to raise £20000, but we know what we’re looking at is a bigger target than that – we’re targeting, maybe by the end of the year, £5000 or £6000.”

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Quigley reckons upgrading the courts is an essential project and will benefit the wider community.

He said: “It would be a massive step in the right direction.

“We don’t want to leave the club behind, that’s not our intention, it’s an extension, really, because of the sheer size of the town.

“It’s going to allow us to grow as a club, and in the more immediate term, it will allow us to offer tennis at a much more affordable price as well.

“It’s going to allow us to connect with the nearby schools in that local area as well.

“We’re looking at it for ourselves, but it’s certainly something we want to look at for the community and the schools.

“To get the courts playable again, to get one court up and running, you’re probably looking at about £20,000; to get all three courts and make it a really good facility with floodlights, the funding you’re probably looking at is between £150,000 and £200,000.

“We have a rough estimation of what the price would be.

East Kilbride Tennis Club head coach Luke Quigley hopes to get the courts back in shape
East Kilbride Tennis Club head coach Luke Quigley hopes to get the courts back in shape

“We have to consider that it might be three or four years before it’s fully operational, or it could get done really quickly, which would be fantastic.

“If Tennis Scotland can do us a big favour, we could potentially get this done next year.

“We’ll get our biggest answer from Tennis Scotland on where we can move forward with it, but they have reached out to us, which is a good sign.”

A spokesman for Tennis Scotland said: “We can confirm that talks are ongoing with South Lanarkshire Council and a number of local authorities, with regards to public tennis courts.”

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