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Judy Murray angry at claims Andy is business hard heart

THE tennis Braveheart has been depicted as a business hard heart.

STRONG ROOTS: Andy and Judy Murray bought the Cromlix Hotel, near Dunblane, as they wanted to invest in their community. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty
STRONG ROOTS: Andy and Judy Murray bought the Cromlix Hotel, near Dunblane, as they wanted to invest in their community. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty

However, Andy Murray's portrayal as Scrooge in an eviction controversy has proved to be a mystery for those involved in the £1.8 million deal to buy the Cromlix Hotel, near Dunblane.

Some families in The Square which sits near the hotel have complained that they are being forced out. But Judy Murray, the Wimbledon champion's mother, only agreed to buy these houses with vacant possession.

The sellers - Henry and Edward Eden - have also confirmed all tenants were on short-term leases. It is understood many of the residents, too, were planning to move before the sale with one indicating he was looking for a spring departure.

One tenant apparently moved into The Square knowing a move was necessary before the hotel opened.

The row has disappointed Ms Murray, captain of the Great Britain Federation Cup team and a tennis coach. She said: "I feel this has been manufactured into a story and Andy has been dragged into this when he has no knowledge of any of this. The facts are I agreed to buy the houses in The Square with vacant possession and with the short-term leases it was thought there would be no problem."

The 26-year-old Olympic gold medallist had no part in any discussions and the purchase of The Square is to accommodate staff working at the hotel.

Ms Murray said: "The simple fact is that there is no public transport to the hotel and we felt we had to provide for our staff who could be working late at functions or whatever. It was the obvious move to buy The Square and we have gone about it in a professional and caring manner. The tenants have always known the situation and I understand that accommodation for them will be found."

It is understood Stirling Council is hopeful of finding homes for the tenants who had been informed by the previous owners months ago that the hotel plans would include the sale of The Square with vacant possession.

The Murray family bought the hotel a year ago and intend to open it in April as a five-star, refurbished facility. It is part of a wider initiative by the family to invest in the area with a tennis academy and a six-hole golf course planned for the Park of Keir, near Dunblane.

"It is important for us to put something back in our backyard," said Ms Murray. "I accept that there may be cynical comments about making money but we could have bought a hotel anywhere. We are conscious that this will bring more than 40 jobs to the local community and will revitalise a local asset."

The Murrays, too, are keen to use local businesses to serve the hotel including landscaping, interior design and providing maintenance.

Murray, now back on tour after surgery following his Wimbledon win, has had no direct involvement with the negotiations with the previous owner and controversy over the tenants.

His mother said: "It is quite simple. The hotel was bought and then we entered negotiations to buy The Square. It makes a great story to portray Andy as some kind of wicked owner throwing people out on to the street. But there is one problem with that: it is not true."

After buying Cromlix House, a 15-room Victorian mansion, Andy Murray said: " I'm pleased to be able to give something back to the community I grew up in."

Jamie Murray, the US Open champion's brother, was married in the hotel in 2010.

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