ANDY Murray is set to dip into his fortune to help fund an academy for tennis aces of the future.
The 25-year-old and his mother, Judy, met First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday to discuss the academy plan, which is earmarked for a site in Edinburgh.
Murray said last week the institution would “make a big difference” and added: “It’s a suggestion I will make and we’ll see what happens”.
Murray’s recent win at the US Open – the first British Grand Slam win in 76 years – has taken his estimated fortune to around £100m.
The star has made no public comment on helping to fund the centre but it was reported today that he has pledged financial support.
Sources claim the centre could be built for as little as £10m – around a quarter of the cost of the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, London.
It is through much of the rest of the money would come from the Lawn Tennis Association and private investors.
The Murrays are said to have wanted a clear signal of support from the Scottish government rather than promises of huge sums of money.
The site that seems most likely to be chosen for the academy is 15-acre plot of land on the site of the former Dunfermline College of Physical Education in Cramond, Edinburgh.
It is understood that plans have already been drawn up for 16 courts – eight inside and eight outside – a café and a gym.
It is also reported that the facility will be available to all and not just for elite players or those from rich families.
The proposed centre is also hoped to act as a platform for training new coaches as well as players.
Murray – who trained in Spain at the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona – is a strong position to offer financial assistance.
As of April 2012 at the end of the last financial year, Murray has stacked up more than £14 million in competition winnings and has almost equalled that in sponsorship deals.
He won £1.17 million for his victory at the US Open last week taking his total career winnings to £14.3 million – making him the third highest paid tennis player in the world.
But it is understood that with appearance fees and deals the US Open result could net him more than £6 million altogether.
His five-year contract with Adidas was worth £3.2 million but it was signed three years ago but competition could see this figure rise if the sports brand wishes to keep him.
Murray also has sponsorship deals with Jaguar and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Judy Murray, 53, said yesterday: “The talks were certainly positive but I would stress there are still decisions to be taken and hurdles to overcome.
“I want to emphasise that this academy would not be about the elite level, it is about inclusion.
“The academy must be part of the community and bring people in who would not normally be thought of as tennis people.
“We must have a plan, something that is sustainable for ten years – the academy would be part of this but it is all about opening the game up.”
After meeting with the Murrays, Mr Salmond said: “We had a positive discussion about their idea for a tennis academy which is certainly in line with the Scottish Government’s ambition to improve young Scots’ participation in sport.
“We’ll be exploring this with the Murrays and their team over the next two months and we hope to make an announcement in this regard in the near future.
“Scotland is very, very lucky to have Andy Murray whose legendary status is secured for all time.
“Both Any and Judy are passionate about developing tennis in Scotland to ensure youngsters have greater access to the facilties and coaching they need to make the most of their talent and potential.”