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I was pleased to see yesterday that the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) recognises Scotland as a country. Aye, the ATP may be small fry in the great scheme of things, but every little recognition counts.
When I suggested on a tennis forum that the ATP ( for men only) should combine with the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) there was fierce opposition, with the main reason being administration of the game would be impossible.
That excuse was unacceptable to me and I explained to the objectors that golf was once similarly divided but now most clubs find combining the administration of the game easier than it was when they had two separate groups. The objectors weren't interested in any other sport's examples and stuck to their guns.
However, I tried one more time and said online searches for top class games would be much easier if the top players were under the one banner. Once I received a few replies the penny dropped. The ATP and WTA are brands as well as associations. Improving access to online tennis news mattered little, if anything, to them. As one responder said, "Tennis professionals like having the two associations. Men's tennis differs from women's tennis." That closed the conversation.
My reason for commenting on the forum was not to beat the equality drum but to discover why the professional tennis world doesn't offer a united front online. Someone wishing to see the progress of our tennis champions has to jump between the ATP and the WTA. What I found was that, in this era of political correctness, there are a few organisations who are determined to operate the way it suits them and not any pc establishment. I found that refreshing.
I can't write about tennis without mentioning Andy Murray's purchase of Cromlix House near Dunblane. 'I'm pleased to be able to give something back to the community' he says.
Some years ago I visited Cromlix House for various reasons. Then it was what is now called 'shabby chic' with more emphasis on the shabby and I wasn't surprised when I heard the business had gone into liquidation. Twenty years ago it was poorly managed and service was the slowest I've ever experienced in what was then a 4 star hotel.
It appears Andy intends to offer a reasonably priced menu and support local businesses. His new acquisition will not become a 'local' for the people of Dunblane because it's situated 2 to 3 miles east of the town and off the beaten track, but if his venture employs local people and uses local suppliers, it should succeed with the will of Dunblane behind it.
Of course the refurbishment will ensure Cromlix House once again becomes the 'overflow' hotel for Gleneagles (8 miles further east. I don't think there is any love lost between the 200 bed Hilton Dunblane Hydro and Gleneagles). Having such a close relationship with Gleneagles will be good for trade, as long as the new managing company are clever enough to keep a balance between the local population and Scotland's most famous hotel. Andy can't afford to completely leave a management company in control. He needs to show a substantial interest in his new project and that could be difficult when he's also committed to travelling the world in search of even more success.