ONE of the first people Blane Dodds encountered at Wimbledon this year was his old boss, David Lloyd. In his past life, the Tennis Scotland chief executive formerly managed the David Lloyd centre in Renfrew. Light-heartedly informed of England’s progress in the World Cup and asked why Scotland weren’t in Russia, Dodds reply was simple. “I think our national sport is tennis now, ” he said.

His tongue may have been placed slightly in cheek but Dodds is deadly serious when it comes to his ambition to transform tennis in this country. The former CEO of Scottish golf is celebrating six months in this new role. It is a period in which he has hardly come up for air.

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“It has been a really busy six months,” says Dodds. “We are very ambitious, we have very much got a new plan, a new direction, a new vision. We have a long-term funding agreement with Sport Scotland, we have hosted the biggest pro event we have ever had in terms of the ATP challenger event in Glasgow, the Glasgow trophy. We have secured the largest ever capital investment for tennis in Scotland [a £15m fund for investing in indoor courts] and the largest revenue investment ever, through the performance strategy, the local, regional and national academies.”

Things are definitely happening in tennis in Scotland now, even if it would have been desirable if legacy planning from the successes of the Murray clan had been pursued with a little more urgency. In ten years, membership of clubs has increased by 83% to 55,000, but that still seems a drop in the ocean when you consider a country with a population of five million plus. Provision for indoor courts remains a bugbear, with just one to every 48,000 compared to one to every 24,000 in England, where the climate is less harsh. The likes of France, Netherlands and Germany have a far better ratio.

So what is next? While there are projects for pay as you play facilities – at differing degrees of readiness in Inverclyde, the Borders, Inverness, Elgin, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow – Dodds is still on the look-out for local authorities or leisure trusts with ambition to get in contact to unlock the full tranche of LTA funding. He accepts it can be a challenge in these times of austerity for them to come up with a third of the spend but indoor facilities are getting to cheaper to build all the time. Through her foundation, Judy Murray has pledged to help train the workforce.

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Then there is finding world class staff for the new national academy which will come into being at the University of Stirling in August 2019, with a new regional structure feeding into it from September 2018. He brushes off criticism on the grounds that, in the short term at least, it may well be a national tennis academy with little, if any, Scottish players. “If we trained up our kids and didn’t have it, we would have to say we have nothing for you,” he said. “Then I think we would have failed.”

While in an ideal world Scotland hosts an ATP event or perhaps a major junior event, Dodds is hopeful too that a Glasgow Trophy of some form may be retained. A decision is due by the end of the month. “We are hoping it is going to become a regular on the calendar but there are no decisions yet.”