The Interview: Andy Murray
Andy Murray Interview: Back in the Game
Angela Sara West talks to Surrey-based Scot Sir Andy Murray about his charity commitments, local family life & a return to Wimbledon’s courts ahead of the season.
In a glorious, victorious career, Andy Murray has had our heads turning and hearts racing as he’s taken on the world’s biggest tennis championships. And he’s enjoyed accolades and awards aplenty in return… lifting trophy after trophy, he’s also been knighted for his services to tennis and charity.
“Receiving a knighthood wasn’t something I expected, but I feel proud to have been awarded with it,” he tells me. “Although I’m probably more comfortable with just being called Andy rather than sir,” he smiles. Finding his passion for tennis at an early age, Andy started playing at just three years-old. “Although I probably didn’t feel passionately about it ‘til I was eight or nine, when I started winning matches against older kids and adults. [My brother] Jamie and I were playing a lot at that point, and my main aim was to beat him, so I’d pretty much do anything to make that happen!”
An unrivalled power force in the game, he went on to win not only the coveted Wimbledon title (twice!), but Olympic Gold medals and become a World No.1. “As a child, I think you do believe you can be champion of the world, so I probably did think I could do it at that age. It’s only as you get older that you realise it’s a big mountain to climb…”
His tennis heroes? “Growing up, Andre Agassi was my inspiration. He was so dynamic on court and such a different player, so I always looked up to him. I even used to dress like him, but hopefully those photos don’t exist anywhere!” he sniggers. “I’m a huge fan of Serena Williams… What she’s been able to achieve in the women’s game and in women’s sport is phenomenal and she will go down in history as one of the greatest athletes of all time. I felt very privileged to play mixed doubles with her in 2019.”
Wimbledon Wins & Acing the Olympics
In 2013, Andy won Wimbledon and rewrote history, becoming the first British male tennis champion since Fred Perry in the 1930s. And the wins have just kept coming since, and are sure to continue further down the line…
What meant the most to him, his first Wimbledon Championship or the Olympic title? “It’s pretty difficult to choose between them… Winning Wimbledon is every tennis players’ dream – it’s what you aspire to growing up, and is still seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. Equally, being able to represent your country and standing on the podium with a gold medal around your neck – it doesn’t get much better than that!”
He says winning his first Olympic gold was a real turning point, too. “I’d been beaten by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final earlier that year, and that was a hard match for me to lose. So, to come back and beat him in straight sets in the London Olympics on the same court four weeks later was pretty incredible for me.”
Life in Surrey
Andy lives in Oxshott, and says he loves being in Surrey. “I enjoy the green spaces… you’re very close to London, but there are some pretty rural bits of Surrey where you can go out for a walk and not see another soul…” And he’s often out exercising his border terriers, Maggie May and Rusty, locally.
As a dad of four, he says that most of his free time is spent with them. As for family days out, his children keep him on his toes. “I’ve spent more than a few hours at the soft play in Leatherhead with my children, and they love Bockett’s Farm.”
During the first lockdown, he enjoyed some great quality family time. “We were so lucky then with the weather… We all spent a lot of time in the garden. My son was only a few months old, so we were pretty busy with him, too. It was great for me to be able to have that time with him as, in a normal year, I would have missed that.”
To mark what would have been the start of finals weekend of the Wimbledon Championships 2020, he joined the Duchess of Cambridge via video link live from his living room to surprise young tennis fans at Mitcham’s Bond School. Forced to get creative with his training programme last year, the sportsman spent a lot of time exercising in the garden to keep on tip-top form during lockdown 2.0. His Instagram feed gave fans insights into life at home, where he kept up our spirits through a series of challenges, and showcased his high-octane 100-Volley Challenge with his wife.
He adds: “I’m lucky in that I have quite a lot of equipment at home, like a Versaclimber and a Wattbike, which are both great for fitness, so that’s been really helpful. Similarly, I’m able to do a lot of my strength and weight-training from home.”
“I also took up road cycling during the first lockdown, and there are some pretty good cycling routes locally, so it’s been fun to see the county from a different angle,” he says. “I’m not far from the Surrey Hills, so mostly, I head out that way. There are some pretty challenging rides out there – Box Hill being one of them, but also Denbies Hill and Leith Hill, which are all good for pushing me out of my comfort zone!”
Improving his culinary skills has helped his mental health while stuck at home. “It’s been a challenging 12 months for most people. I’ve worked with a sports psychologist in the past, so I can always go back to some of his techniques if I ever feel stressed or worried. I have done more cooking this year than ever before, and I do enjoy that. I like to eat healthy food, and because I train so much, I’m usually hungry, so I’ve enjoyed being creative in the kitchen.”
High-Style Sports Clothing
Turning his hand to fashion design, the creative player recently released an eco-friendly, high-performance tennis clothing line with Castore. “We launched AMC (Andy Murray x Castore) at the end of 2019. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a long time…” The inspiration behind the brand? “I’d felt that there was a gap in the market for really stylish tennis clothing – clothing that you would wear off court as well as on.”
And his range of apparel has already been well received. “I’m pretty proud of the direction it’s going in. We are now the official clothing brand of the LTA and Tennis Scotland, so that should help build awareness for the range.” Any famous faces of the brand? “I can’t reveal which athletes will be wearing it just yet, but keep your eyes peeled for an announcement soon!
A complementary business interest has seen Andy up his game, having invested in a firm making collagen health supplements. “I invested in TRR Nutrition after I had success with their PRO Advanced Collagen brand myself,” he says. “The product was actually formulated for me by my nutritionist with TRR when my hip was really bad, and I now take it to help protect my bones and joints. I felt like there was demand for a collagen supplement for athletes, and so now the product is available for all budding sportsmen and sportswomen.”
He also has business interests in a hotel. Almost a decade ago, the sports legend purchased a Scottish hotel very close to his heart to save it from closure. “Cromlix is a very special place to me. It’s three miles from Dunblane, where I grew up, so I love going back there whenever I can. It’s where Kim and I got married, so we’ve got some great memories of the hotel from that day…”
Back in the game
Up next for Andy Murray? “Hopefully, a lot more tennis. I’ve got a fairly-packed schedule this spring, starting in Italy. I’m feeling really strong, so I’m keen to get back to playing competitively as much as I can this year. I’m working towards the Tokyo Olympics and am really hoping they go ahead, so that’s my main goal.”
And his hopes for this year’s Wimbledon are high. “It’s looking positive that the tournament will go ahead in some capacity, which is great news as it’s loved by tennis fans around the world… The grass court season is a big focus for me, as always, and I’m training hard to be back at Wimbledon this year!”