Documentary gets unique access to Andy Murray

Andy Murray and Kim Sears The programme shows life off court for Murray, seen here with girlfriend Kim Sears

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If you saw Sunday's exhibition match after Andy Murray's triumph at Queen's Club, you will have seen a different, fun side to the tennis player.

Leaping around in comedic joy after winning a point against coach Ivan Lendl, it's a rarely seen persona that's shown in a BBC documentary this weekend, on the eve of Wimbledon.

Programme-makers were allowed unprecedented access to his life, accompanying him on a trip back to his hometown Dunblane, as well as filming his punishing training routine.

"He's not just big here, he's a global superstar, and not many people know the real Andy Murray," says Carl Doran, executive editor at BBC Sport.

His relationship with Murray and his team started when the tennis star won Young Sports Personality of the Year at the age of 16.

Doran adds: "His story is interesting. His persona away from the tennis court and his perception by the public is different so I just wanted to get that across."

Daunting experience

Sometimes appearing aloof, Murray's emotions came to the fore after losing his first Wimbledon final last year, when a post-match speech triggered tears among 16 million viewers - even commuters watching at Euston station were seen to be openly crying.

Since then he has secured Olympic gold and his first grand slam triumph at the US Open.

Andy Murray's fans Andy Murray is the source of much Scottish pride

"He's managed to break that stranglehold of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer so the documentary's timing just seems right," says Doran.

"We met with Andy, talked it through and introduced him to [filmmaker] Jo McCusker, the perfect person in the department to produce this documentary.

"I think [Murray] might have been a bit daunted at first - he'd never opened up his life in this way before but, as we've got on in the last few months, Jo has built a very close relationship with his team."

Alongside interviews with family members, the programme-makers also spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson, who crashed his US Open media conference, and the usually inscrutable Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

"Despite all his success, Andy doesn't consider himself as something extraordinary," explains McCusker, who works as assistant editor at BBC Sport.

"That is why we needed some very honest interviews from his family, friends and luminaries, such as Ferguson and Wintour, to give us an insight into this private, unassuming man."

Business man

She also says she was surprised at his commercial sense, which is explored in the documentary.

"He is effectively operating a business. When I asked him who rules the roost, he was very definite - he does. He is in charge of the Murray operation.

Andy Murray with Mock the Week team Murray attended a Mock the Week recording last year

"It made me think that this is a 26-year-old who's not just playing tennis but employing coaches, physiotherapists and actively involved with his management company regarding sponsorship and media commitments."

She has previously made programmes with the late golfer Seve Ballesteros and cricketer Freddie Flintoff, and her editor Doran reckons this results in a reliable reputation, making the likes of media-wary Murray more likely to trust her.

McCusker adds that the tennis star is not naturally "showy" and initially didn't relish being filmed.

"Having a camera follow you in everyday life, is not something most people would welcome but I explained, 'If you engage with this Andy, you will find you'll start to invite the camera to do things'.

"Bit by bit he did, allowing me, but more importantly, the cameras, to see the routine life a top tennis player has to live."

Local pride

However McCusker says her filming highlight was joining his mum Judy in visiting his primary school in Dunblane.

The town was the subject of national attention when gunman Thomas Hamilton walked into the same school and shot dead 16 children and a teacher in 1996.

"The Murray brothers mean so much to that school and to the Dunblane community that it's quietly moving," says McCusker.

"But it wasn't so quiet on the day of his homecoming as Olympic and US Open champion. Around 20,000 took to the sleepy streets to congratulate him, even though the town has a population of 6,000."

  • Andy Murray: The Man Behind The Racquet, Sunday 23 June, 10.25pm, BBC One (10.55pm in Wales)

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