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Enter the grounds of the Scotstoun Leisure Centre and one thing is immediately apparent. The passion for tennis and thirst for live action in Scotland has never waned.
Fans have filed into the modest, cozy facility in Glasgow all week for a glimpse of world-class tennis. In three of the last four years, the bustling city has hosted Davis Cup ties at the Emirates Arena. But this week, the ATP Challenger Tour has welcomed players and fans to the quaint 1,000-seat venue at Scotstoun.
The 'Murray Trophy' has arrived.
While the name itself carries great significance throughout Scotland, it's Jamie Murray who has made great strides to bring the tournament to life. Working closely to increase awareness for the game in his native land, he has played an integral role in the event's creation and development.
"It's been awesome to put on an event in Scotland," Jamie told ATPChallengerTour.com. "We have no live, professional tennis the rest of the year, so it's a great opportunity for people to get close to a big tournament. Monday morning here was already pretty busy which is great.
"There's a huge appetite for tennis in Glasgow and in Scotland. We've had some pretty big Davis Cup ties in the past. A lot of people have already come out to see us play and we've gotten some great support."
The former doubles No. 1 isn't the only active player that has taken a hands-on approach in bringing Challenger tennis to his homeland. French stalwart Jeremy Chardy celebrated the inaugural edition of the Teréga Open Pau-Pyrénées in his hometown of Pau, in February. Like Chardy, it was Murray who has been instrumental in making the dream a reality.
The 33-year-old, in conjunction with the Lawn Tennis Association and Tennis Scotland, recognised the need for an expanded presence of ATP Challenger Tour events in Great Britain. That is, additional tournaments outside of the traditional grass-court season in June and July.
Cultivating interest in the game year-round has become a top priority and Challenger tennis is the perfect way to achieve that goal. This week, fans have the ability to witness the action in an intimate setting and interact with the players in the public areas. Murray has ensured the local kids are especially involved, setting up a mini-tennis court on site, while visiting his hometown of Dunblane on Saturday, a primary school on Monday and engaging in multiple Q&As and clinics.
Murray isn't the only key tennis figure to visit the Scotstoun Leisure Centre this week. The Scot's mother Judy Murray, British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, Queen's Club tournament director Stephen Farrow and former Top 20 doubles star and Scotland native Colin Fleming have all come to support the cause.