By Alice Lancaster @lancaster_alice
Sheffield tennis coaches are divided over whether British tennis success is inspiring a generation or whether it is purely down to parent’s attitudes.
In Sheffield, there are already around half a dozen tennis clubs that offer lessons, games and tennis related activities to young people on a daily or weekly basis.
Abbeydale Tennis club, which is one of these, believes that Britain’s recent success has had a major impact on children’s tennis, and more success in the defence could once again boost numbers.
Maria Gledden, a coach from the club said: “The number of children joining since we won the Davis Cup has boomed, our numbers have increased from 320 to 400 children in only three months.”
However, A Sheffield mum and coach at Beauchief Tennis Club, Jo Muscroft, believes that children cannot be forced into sport, and that Murray’s and the team’s success will not be enough to inspire new players.
She said: “My eldest has been playing since he was 4. He knows the names of players and that Andy Murray plays for GB but I wouldn’t say he’s inspired by him or other players.”
She added: “They enjoy learning how to play and they are more inspired by the great coaches they have.”
Whether inspirational or not, Murray will be leading the GB team to defend their Davis Cup title in the first round tie against Japan in Birmingham, from 4-6 March.
The title, which Murray won for the team last year, has been the first for Great Britain in 79 years. It will be his first match since becoming a father in February.
Murray will be joined by brother Jamie Murray, and fellow players Kyle Edmund, Dominic Inglot, and Dan Evans.
Leon Smith, the Great British Captain, said to the BBC: “It will be a test for us but I’m confident in our team and I’m sure when the guys pull on their GB shirt they will give their all.”
Kei Nishikori will be leading the Japan bid along with teammate Taro Daniel.