IF we have learned anything about Andy Murray in recent times it is that it’s never smart to prematurely write him off. Brother Jamie’s appearance in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open suggests he could be around for a wee while yet, too.

The day is approaching, however, when the brothers – now in their thirties - decide they have had enough and hang up their racquets for good. At that point the search will begin in earnest for Scottish tennis’ next great hope.

Aidan McHugh would like to be in the reckoning when that time comes. The 19 year-old from Bearsden is not brash enough to push himself forward to be considered “the next Andy Murray” just yet given he is still in the relative infancy of his career.

But the world No.569 hopes the steady improvement he has shown in recent years will one day help him climb to something approaching those highs.

He is fortunate enough to have become good friends with the Murray boys, close enough to be comfortable taking the mickey out of them on social media and receiving a dollop of friendly abuse in return.

And having Scotland’s two finest tennis players available on the other end of the phone has been a big help.

“At the beginning it was a bit strange [becoming friends] as they were people I had looked up to from when I was really young,” said McHugh who is also a client of Murray’s 77 Sports Management firm.

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“But I know them both very well now and they’ve been great with me. I can phone Andy and ask for advice on tennis but also about the mental side things or off- court issues like travelling and day-to-day stuff.

“They always find the time for me. I met up with Andy the other week and he’s always very open and helpful. They’re both up for chatting rubbish as well! We like to slag each other off a bit on social media so that’s always good fun. And it shows they don’t take themselves too seriously.

“Their success gives me a lot of confidence and it excites me to try get as close as I can to what they’ve achieved. If I could get anywhere close I would be delighted.”

The impending post-Murray vacuum is in his thoughts, too. “That day will come at some point and maybe people will wonder where the next Scottish tennis player is going to come from.

“So that’s something I’ll need to prepare for and deal with at the time. It’s also great motivation for me at this moment in time because I know I’ve a long way to go before I’m anywhere near that very top level. I just have to keep improving to give myself the best chance.”

He will do so surrounded by home comforts this week as the ITF circuit rolls into Glasgow, giving him the chance to sleep in his own bed, catch up with friends and hopefully take in a Celtic match.

He opens his singles campaign against fellow Brit Arthur Fery this morning, with free admission at Scotstoun for all spectators until Sunday.

“It’s really nice for me to play in Scotland,” he added. “We’re away from home 80 to 90 percent of the year so it’s great being able to be with my family and friends. And it will be nice to have a few folk turn up to support me, too.”

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Life on the road as a touring professional is not all glamorous, however, certainly at McHugh’s level. While the top professionals have every need looked after, it is more of a DIY approach down the food chain.

“At the moment I need to book all my own flights and accommodation, lifts, taxis and the rest,” he added. “You don’t start getting all the perks until you’re one of the top players. It’s a bit annoying to have to deal with all that other stuff - although I know where to find all the best deals now!

“I’ve also had a lot of support from the LTA with covering costs of flights and other things. It’s a tough sport for that so you really need that financial backing. And Tennis Scotland have been a big help from a young age too.”

There is an acknowledgement that he still needs to develop both physically and mentally before he is ready to compete at elite level.

“I don’t think I’ll reach my peak until I’m closer to 22 or 23, “he added. “With my build I know I can get stronger still. I’ve a bit to go yet before I can consider myself close to the finished article.

“I’m committed to giving tennis a real shot to see where it takes me. Different players kick on at different points in their careers so I need to keep plugging away and hope that leap forward comes to me too at some point.”