Craiglockhart Sports Centre

Located on the western flank of Easter Craiglockhart Hill (Edinburgh), in an area known as Happy Valley, is the Craiglockhart Sports Centre. It is noted for its tennis facilities and for hosting international competitions, including the Scottish Championships. The centre was purchased by Edinburgh Corporation in 1958 and was subject to a major refurbishment to upgrade the facilities to international standard in 1995. Now managed by Edinburgh Leisure on behalf of the Council, it comprises three buildings with six indoor courts and eight outdoor clay courts, together with seating for 2000 spectators. Three of the outdoor courts are covered during the winter to allow their continued use. The centre also provides a seventy-station gym, two fitness studios, glass-backed squash courts, a sports hall and a kayaking pond.

A pleasure ground for the citizens of Edinburgh was established here by the end of the 19th C. and tennis had become the most popular activity by the 1930s. The East of Scotland Lawn Tennis Association and Thistle Tennis Club shared more than 20 courts. From the 1950s, the Scottish Grass Court Championships became a popular event in the run-up to Wimbledon, bringing player such as Rod Laver, Gabriela Sabatini, Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl to Scotland. An ill-tempered match in 1989 between American stars Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe was watched by nearly 5000 spectators around the court and televised world-wide, presented by Dougie Donnelly (b.1953). Judy Murray, mother of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray (b.1987), won the championship in 1981 and her son played in tournaments here early in his career. Scottish grass courts proved of insufficient quality and, while these were replaced with clay as part of the mid-1990s refurbishment, the attraction of Craiglockhart to international stars came to an end with the lack of sponsorship.

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