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If we’ve heard something lately about Andy Murray, it’s because it’s never prudent to prematurely write him off. The success of Brother Jamie at the Australian Open in the mixed doubles final indicates he might be around for a while, too.
But the day is coming when the brothers, now in their 30s, decide that they have had enough and hang up their rackets for good. Then the hunt will start in earnest for the next big hope for Scottish tennis.
When it’s over, Aidan McHugh would love to be there. As he is still relatively early in his career, the 19-year-old from Bearsden is not yet brave enough to mark himself as’ the next Andy Murray.’
But the No. 569 world hopes that the gradual progress it has shown in recent years will one day help it achieve something close to those heights.
He is fortunate enough to be good friends with the Murray boys, close enough to be able to take them on social media for a ride and in exchange get some friendly violence.
And it was a big help to have Scotland’s top two tennis players on the other end of the call.
“It was a bit strange [becoming friends]at first because they were people I had looked up to when I was very young,” said McHugh, who is also a customer of 77 Sports Management, Murray’s company.
But now I know both of them very well and they were perfect for me. I can call Andy and ask him for tennis advice, but also for mental or off-court problems such as travel and day-to-day stuff.
“For me, they still find the time. The other day, I met Andy and he is always very open and supportive. Both of them are able to talk garbage, too! We like to talk a little bit about trash on social media. It’s always interesting. And it reveals that they’re not taking themselves too seriously.
“Their success gives me a lot of confidence, and it excites me to try to get as close as possible to what they’ve achieved. If I could even come close, I would be delighted.”
Also in his thoughts is the impending post-Murray vacuum. Eventually, the day will come and people might wonder where the next Scottish tennis player is going to come from,”The day will come eventually and people might wonder where the next Scottish tennis player will come from,”
“So that’s something I have to prepare for and deal with at the time. It’s also a big motivator for me at this point because I know I have a long way to go before I get anywhere near the top level. I just have to keep improving to give myself the best chance.”
This week, he’s going to do it at home when the ITF Circuit stops in Glasgow. This gives him the chance to sleep in his own bed, make mates, and hopefully watch a match with the Celts.
This morning, he opens his singles campaign against fellow Brit Arthur Fery, with free entry until Sunday for all spectators at Scotstoun.
“It’s really nice for me to play in Scotland,”It is really nice for me to play in Scotland. “We’re away from home 80 to 90 percent of the year, so it’s great to be able to be with my family and friends. And it’ll be nice to have some people show up to support me, too.”
Life as a touring pro on the road is not all glamour, but at least not at McHugh’s stage. While the top pros take care of any need, it’s more of a DIY technique down the food chain.
I have to book all my own flights and rooms right now, as well as elevators, cabs and the rest,”Right now, I have to book all my own flights and accommodations, elevators, cabs and the rest,” “You don’t get all the perks until you’re one of the top players. It’s a bit of a hassle to have to take care of all the other stuff – although now I know where to find the best deals!” he adds.
“I’ve also had a lot of support from the LTA, who have paid for flights and other things. It’s a tough sport, you really need that financial support. And Tennis Scotland has also been a great help from a young age.”
Before he is able to play at an elite level, he is conscious that he still needs to improve both physically and mentally.
He said, “I don’t think I’ll peak until I’m closer to 22 or 23,” “With my physique, I know I can still get stronger. I still have a little way to go before I consider myself almost done.
“I’m determined to give tennis a real shot and see where it takes me. Different players get going at different points in their careers, so I have to keep working and hope that the jump nac