Today (Friday 5 November 2021), SportsAid has donated a £1,000 grant to Murray Watters, a 12-year-old tennis player living in High Wycombe, at its Bucks Sporting Lunch Club business network in Dorney Lake. The grant was presented by Louise Sugden, a former Bucks Sporting Lunch Club SportsAid recipient, and winner of a Commonwealth Silver medal in 2018 and Paralympic Bronze medal in 2021.
Murray has been training at the Delgado & Lee Tennis Academy in Bisham Abbey for the past 12 months since moving back to the UK just before the Covid lockdown. Before that he was living in Spain from the age of seven where he was the No. 1 player in the country for two consecutive years. Murray’s mum Adrienne says:
“We had a tough time relocating during the pandemic. But Murray adapted brilliantly into the British LTA system after being given a wildcard entry into a National competition which he went on to win. Since then he’s become National U12 doubles champion and he’s won the Fred Perry Championships. Recently he has won three Tennis Europe doubles titles and achieved one of his biggest aims which was to win a European singles tournament. So there’s been a lot of consistently good results. He’s just 12 years old so there is a long way to go but he’s working really hard to realise his dream of becoming a pro tennis player.”
Murray and his family used to live in a house that overlooked a tennis club in Edinburgh. He used to watch his brother’s lessons from his pushchair and once he could walk, he was able to have five minutes coaching at the end. Now he is up at 5.30am every day to be on court at 6.45am and spends the entire day at the tennis academy now that he is no longer in school. Instead, he takes online lessons to fit around his rigorous training schedule.
Despite being only 12 years old, Murray has had to face many challenges head on to make it to the top of his sport, not least moving to Spain to train at a tennis academy with his brother and starting at a native Spanish school in central Palma. But now he can speak fluent Spanish. He has also had to adapt to returning to the UK and living in Buckinghamshire with no family or friends nearby. Aside from his inner resilience, Murray has many world class players, coaches and people around him to inspire and encourage him. Adrienne explains:
“Murray likes Federer for his attitude, professionalism and general excellence. Andy Murray, for being a fellow Scot. We love his journey and especially now with his fightback which takes a huge amount of grit. And also Nadal, having lived in Spain for a four years, he’s a definite idol. But Murray likes the younger players coming through as well. However, he wants to be as good as, if not better than all of them.”
In addition to being the No. 1 player in Spain, Murray has also competed in the World 10&U Championships in Croatia, representing Great Britain. And just two weeks ago he won the Singles Championship in Gran Canaria. The Sportsaid grant will help in supporting his training and travel costs for competing in more high-level European events next year.
When asked about Murray’s ultimate goal, it’s no surprise that he wants to become one of the best players in the world. But Adrienne adds: “He doesn’t like to think that far ahead. Instead, he’s concentrating on what his goals are for the next few years and being the best that he can be. If he can manage that and remain completely focused then anything is possible in the future.”
Steve Perry, a SportsAid trustee, from B P Collins in Gerrards Cross, says:
“Murray has achieved so much, despite being only 12 years’ old. His drive and determination is amazing and he is a deserved recipient of this grant. We can’t wait to see what he achieves next, and it would be great to see another Murray becoming a world class tennis player in a few years’ time!”