Skip to main content

Wimbledon: Murray's hometown readies strawberries, cream and champagne

By Phil Gast, CNN
updated 10:35 PM EDT, Fri July 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Scottish hometown of Andy Murray prepares for big match
  • Murray is the first Briton to reach Wimbledon men's singles final since 1938
  • Dunblane residents will tune in at pubs, homes and a community center

(CNN) -- The Rev. Sally Foster-Fulton doesn't expect worshippers at Dunblane Cathedral to tarry at the close of the second service Sunday.

By then, their minds will have shifted from tithing to tennis in anticipation of local hero Andy Murray's bid to win the Wimbledon men's title.

Murray, 25, is the first British man to reach the finals since 1938.

"It's a huge deal and everybody is over the moon," said Foster-Fulton, associate minister at the Scottish city's landmark cathedral.

Andy Murray's secret weapon

Murray, who reached the final with a grueling win Friday over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, will play six-time champion Roger Federer.

Goran Ivanisevic: Wimbledon good and bad

Dunblane, primarily known for its cathedral and picturesque river, Allan Water, is bursting with obvious pride.

Keeping Wimbledon's grass green

"This is one of the things in my town (I wanted) to see before I die," said Tom McLean, owner of the Dunblane Hotel. "I wanted to see a British person to go to the finals of Wimbledon. It is double special because he is Scot."

Navratilova talks Nadal's shock defeat

As he did Friday, McLean will serve strawberries and cream to customers who will pack the hotel's large bar. The dish is a Wimbledon tradition.

"We're going to party like you wouldn't believe," McLean said.

He's also holding something special in reserve for Sunday.

"When (Murray) strikes the winning ball, we will strike open the champagne and the party begins."

Part bedroom community, the city of nearly 12,000 has grown because of its proximity to transportation corridors, said Foster-Fulton, a native of South Carolina married to a Scot.

Many residents commute to Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow for work.

Dunblane is a bit off tourists' beaten path, but it does receive some visitors.

"It remains a close-knit community with a great heart," the minister told CNN Friday after Murray won his semifinal match.

That heart was nearly broken in 1996, when a former scout leader went on a rampage at a school, killing 16 young children, an adult and himself.

Donations after the massacre led to the opening in 2004 of the Dunblane Centre, a multi-purpose community sports, leisure, arts, meeting and youth facility.

The center is inviting residents to watch the Murray-Federer afternoon match on a big screen.

"The community believes this is Andy's time," said Stewart Prodger, a trustee for the charity that oversees the center.

Murray's success in tennis shows the town has moved forward since the 1996 tragedy, according to Prodger.

"We are no less mindful about what happened in the past," he said. "We are about celebrating the future. Andy is very much a part of Dunblane's success story."

Relatively few people in the city were alive in 1938 when the last British player, Bunny Austin, played in the men's final, losing to American Don Budge.

Fred Perry was the last Briton to win the singles title, in 1936.

McLean, of the Dunblane Hotel, knows Murray's work will be cut out for him Sunday.

"Andy has beaten Federer lots of times, but Federer is the ice man," McLean said. "He is so cool. Andy is going to have to raise his game."

Foster-Fulton watched some of Friday's match, but went grocery shopping when the match tightened. "I couldn't cope," she said.

Sunday morning, she will lead services at the cathedral, which is affiliated with the Church of Scotland.

Asked whether there will be any sports-centered supplications, the minister said, "Quiet ones, anyway. It's tempting."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
updated 8:42 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
updated 12:16 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
updated 2:36 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
ADVERTISEMENT