TENNIS ace Andy Murray may have failed in his mission to be crowned King of Wimbledon last week...but he was still a smash hit with hundreds of people who mobbed him during a visit to Paisley yesterday.
Murray mania came to Paisley as the Scottish sports star made a special appearance at Brodie Park in a bid to encourage young Buddies to pick up a racquet.
Andy, who is the world number four, was joined by his mum Judy, brother Jamie and Davis Cup team-mates Colin Fleming and James Ward as he officially unveiled plans for a £160,000 refurbishment of the run-down tennis courts at Brodie Park.
And the Dunblane man also took time to chat to enthusiastic fans who turned up in force to welcome him to Paisley.
Among those who went along to meet Andy – who made it through to the Wimbledon semi-finals last week before being outgunned by Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal – were three brothers from the Rooney family, from Houston.
The excited trio – Matthew, 13, Michael, 11, and eight-year-old Luke – will also be at the Braehead Arena in Renfrew this weekend to see their hero lead the British team in their Davis Cup tie with Luxembourg.
And they admitted it was a dream come true to meet Andy in the flesh during his Paisley visit.
Matthew told the Paisley Daily Express: “It was really exciting to get to meet Andy, even if it was a bit of a crush along the way!
“Nadal is my hero but Murray is my favourite British player. I think he’s brilliant.”
Luke added: “Andy is my favourite tennis player and it was really good to be able to meet him in Paisley today.”
It was also a day to remember for seven-year-old Adam Grassie and his nine-year-old pal Kyle O’Neill, who were helped through the stampede by their mums so they could have their racquets signed by Andy.
And Kyle – who sat on “Murray Mound” to watch the Wimbledon action last weekend – is looking forward to joining Adam in the stands at the Braehead Arena this weekend.
He said: “I managed to get my Wimbledon ball signed by Andy and his mum Judy signed my hand, so I’m really happy.”
Adam added: “It was good to meet Andy and I’m looking forward to seeing him play in the Davis Cup.”
Best buddies Trish McCarthy-Gold, 56, and Kay Thomson, 66, played on the courts at Brodie Park when they were kids who dreamed of starring at Wimbledon.
And the double act, who won the Paisley and District Plate in 1991 for their works team CPC, were both delighted to see Andy pay a visit to the courts they used to play on.
Kay, who is a grandmother of five, said: “I never thought I’d see the day that a world number four would step on to these courts.
“It’s wonderful to see Andy in Paisley and it can only encourage local kids to take up tennis.”
Retired PE teacher Trish, who used to teach at Linwood High School, added: “It’s also good to see Andy’s mother, Judy, supporting this event.
“She deserves to be congratulated for all her efforts to improve the grassroots of the game.
“I’m hoping this day will inspire lots of Paisley children to pick up a racquet and play tennis.”
Speaking to the Express yesterday, tennis coach Judy told of her hopes that the bumper cash boost from the Lawn Tennis Association that will pay for five all-weather courts at Brodie Park will lead to young players falling in love with the sport the way her sons Andy and Jamie have.
Judy added: “It is absolutely fantastic to see so many people coming along to Brodie Park today.
“At the moment, these courts are not in a good enough condition to be able to play on but, when they are resurfaced, it will give the people of Paisley a proper facility they can use.
“We need to open tennis up to the community by providing facilities which are free for the public to use.
“We want to get more and more children involved in the game and, if we aren’t able to grow the game now, we never will.”