Andy Murray "very grateful" to be honoured by university

Tennis star Andy Murray has said he feels "very grateful" to be receiving an honorary degree from the university where he trained as a boy.

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The Olympian will be presented with the honour by the University of Stirling tomorrow - the same day that he is given the Freedom of the City.

The university said the reigning Wimbledon and Olympic tennis champion will be presented with a doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tennis.

Murray, 26, said: "I am honoured and very grateful to receive this award from the University of Stirling - an institution which is recognised internationally for its sports research and facilities.

"I trained on the courts at the Scottish National Tennis Centre at the University of Stirling when I was growing up and I remember playing against the students, which was great fun.

"I know there are many talented junior players practising there every day and I'd encourage them to keep working hard towards their goals."

First Minister Alex Salmond designated the University of Stirling as Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence in 2008.

Professor Gerry McCormac, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, will present Murray with the award of Doctor of the University.

He said: "We are delighted to welcome back Andy Murray to the university campus.

"One of the greatest athletes of his generation, Andy has broken the boundaries of British tennis and elevated the profile of the sport to new levels. His exceptional sporting abilities, diligence and tenacity make him an inspirational role model to our students and to people across the world.

"We are proud to provide pathways - through our facilities, sports scholarships, research and coaching - to help high-performance athletes reach their full potential and achieve at the highest level. The success of so many current and former students is proof of the winning combination of sport and study."

He added: "We are grateful to Andy for his continued support of the university and honoured to recognise his extraordinary talent and contribution to tennis by conferring him with this award."

Stirling Council will give Murray the Freedom of the City at a special council meeting in his home town of Dunblane tomorrow.

The Freedom of Stirling is the greatest civic honour that the council can confer, and has only been granted on four previous occasions.

The tennis star will also visit the new luxury hotel he has opened in the area. He bought Cromlix, three miles from Dunblane, in February last year.

Stirling Council decided to honour Murray after his success at the 2012 Olympics and his first Grand Slam win later that year.

The tennis star's training and competition schedule means the local hero is only receiving the freedom of the city now.

He said: "I'm thrilled to be coming home and am really looking forward to meeting the young people of Dunblane and Stirling. I'm proud to be receiving the Freedom of the City and want to share that experience with as many people as possible and across many of the schools in the area."

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: "Andy is an inspirational figure who is at the top of his game. It's no surprise there's so much interest in him, and this very special event."

Council leader Johanna Boyd said: "Physical activity fosters young people's physical, social and emotional well-being. But taking part in sport also promotes self-esteem and team building.

"We are promoting that in our schools and investing in facilities that will raise the profile of Stirling as a City of Sport. There can be no greater ambassador for those plans than our own local hero, Andy Murray."


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