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Into the mind of Murray

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Jonathan Overend | 09:20 UK time, Thursday, 9 February 2012

Five minutes after walking into the redeveloped National Museum of Scotland I was into a debate with Andy Murray about the next England football manager. Maybe he saw Fabio Capello's exit coming more than I did.

Brother Jamie was chipping in with his usual vigour - before going all silly and advocating a selection policy based around all available players from his beloved Manchester United.

We were tucking into the gluten-free food selection as the off-air conversation moved to the Harry Redknapp situation and then the John Terry situation.

Then mum Judy walked up the stairs and into an emotional hug with her sons. For Andy, it was the first time he'd seen her since before his epic match with Djokovic in Australia. They are incredibly close.

The Murrays are a close-knit family unit. Photo: Getty

We were getting ready for the recording of the RBS Museum Talk which was initially scheduled for broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday night, but now will start at 9pm.

I should reassure tennis fans that the programme retains its full 90-minute duration, just slightly later than advertised. It will also be available as a BBC Radio 5 live sport special podcast.

A capacity crowd of 350 had gathered inside the Grand Gallery at the museum, keen to hear the story of one of the country's most successful sporting families and their passionate support of the Set4Sport campaign.

They want to encourage kids to learn basic sporting skills such as balance and hand-eye co-ordination through a series of simple play-at-home games.

It's how they started, at home in Dunblane, and even though they didn't know it at the time, the brothers were starting out on their sporting careers by jumping over pretend shark-infested waters or using tennis racquets as self-defence as Mum threw balls at their legs.

We played highlights of the Djokovic match - five hours in a minute - and relived Jamie's Wimbledon triumph of 2007, when Andy choked up on air in the commentary box. The replay of the audio tugged at the heart strings again.

Jamie was just back from another ATP doubles final, with Paul Hanley in Montpellier, Judy had returned from a successful debut as Fed Cup captain in Israel while it was Andy's first public appearance since running the world number one so close in Melbourne.

He talks about the improvements to his game, his work with coach Ivan Lendl and his hopes for the year, including the dream of the London Olympics.

He takes questions from the audience and also talks at length about other issues close to his heart, such as facilities, accessibility and the need for a British "identity" in terms of coaching and style of play.

It made for a friendly, fascinating evening and hopefully something you'll enjoy listening to on 5 live or at your leisure on the podcast.


  • Comment number 1.

    Four hours in and this is the first comment... Seems as though Andy and Jamie aren't the only ones talking about other sport events!

  • Comment number 2.

    Probably because the main thing I've taken from this post is that I want to listen to the podcast - it hasn't really raised other issues that warrant a response.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was expecting the obligatory "Murray's rubbish, he'll never win a slam" comment.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great performance by Andy Murray losing in yet another semi final...i wonder is that less or more satisfying than losing in yet another final?

    Oh well never mind hey lol.

  • Comment number 5.

    I really don't get this obsession with a 'British identity' in terms of a 'style of play'. I mean, each player must use what they have to their best advantage. If everyone gets told to play the same way, all you're doing is biasing the outcome in favour of those who happen to fit the set way best.

    When I was growing up, I started out playing from the baseline because I was short and could be lobbed easily. Sure I volleyed at doubles and in free hitting, but in matches coming in was pointless as I just got lobbed. So I didn't come in.

    When I grew, I changed my style a lot. I did serve-volley, because I was tall enough and had a good enough serve. I used more topspin and less slice on my forehand because I had the strength to use topspin effectively. I became more vulnerable to sliced approaches of the opponent because my legs were much longer.

    What you need to think really carefully about beyond the age of about ten is how you develop the early growers vs the late growers. When I was 12, there was a guy at my club who played U16 for GB and he was over six foot at fourteen. I was 5ft 3 at 15 and a half. But I ended up nearly 6ft 2inches. The ability to judge true talent, progress etc is really critical in the age 11 - 17 because the growth spurts happen at such different times.......

    It's really critical to evaluate whether a 'national identity' is really just a euphemism for certain coaches wanting to teach their way or whether it really will generate a greater pipeline of really top talent as opposed to mass-produced robots.

    I'm open minded on this issue, but my gut feel is that you should match each individual with a system they're best suited to, be that Bollettieri, Barcelona, Pilic or whoever. Doesn't mean you can't have a school in the UK. Just not sure that every British junior should be forced into that system if it doesn't suit them......

  • Comment number 6.

    Didn't you ask Andy how his "injuries", picked up during the AO semi-final, were healing? Maybe you were just being diplomatic. I'm afraid that I lost quite a lot of respect for Andy when he announced that he wouldn't play for GB in this weekend's Davis Cup tie in Glasgow, using the mysterious injuries as an excuse for letting down his Nation and pretending that his doctor had effectively made the decision for him. He could still rescue this public relations disaster if he made an appearance at the Braehead Arena, supported the team from the sidelines, signed autographs and so on, but I'm not holding my breath...

  • Comment number 7.

    at mctyke, lost respect for andy, why because he turnethe down the chance to play for gb, why should he play? will gb ever win davis cup, no. federer plays because he knows he has a chance of wining davis cup, so does nadal, after andy who is the next highest rank brit, where as for spain theres nadal, ferrer, who is in the top 8 in the world, lopez, etc.. andy did the right thing

  • Comment number 8.

    badfella, Andy could play to give something back to his home fans, especially with the tie being in Scotland. He's played Davis Cup before even though GB have no chance of winning it. I lose respect for people who make lame excuses and pretend someone else has made the decision for them, I suspect in an attempt to deflect criticism, when the real reason is probably that Davis Cup isn't high on his list of priorities and he feels that playing a couple of singles matches this weekend may somehow put the rest of his season at risk (how, exactly?...).

  • Comment number 9.


    Kindly remember that these are the 'home fan' (even Scottish!!) some of who show Andy utter disrespect - as evidenced by 'sports_nut' (how apt!!) above

    Andy's best way to "give something back to his home fans", is to win a Slam or The Olympics, something he has far less of a chance achieving if he aggrevates niggles, this early in the year

  • Comment number 10.

    It is understandable that a player of Murray's quality wouldn't be too bothered about the level at which Britain's Davis Cup team is currently operating. However, it could help win a few more friends if he seemed really keen. There was quite a lot of antipathy towards Hewitt in Australia when he first got to the top, but his commitment to international tennis won a lot of people over.

    Also, I think pace Murray that there is a British identity in tennis, sadly this identity is pampered and work-shy. Perhaps they could follow the Spanish identity - pharmacology, if Canal+ are to be believed.

  • Comment number 11.

    he played it before when gb was at least in a decent tier, now they are not, and when he played he was looking for experience, and when he played, he was young, right now his won 10 masters more titles, 3 grand slam final consecutive semi finals, imo a potentail grand slam winner, seeing how little gb encourages young kids to play tennis thats is a great carrer, better than henman, redesuki. wining friends? really, i mean really wining friends his a professional tennis player lol

  • Comment number 12.

    Can GB beat the best @Davis Cup? Well, if Murray wins both his singles rubbers then it'd be all down to the doubles. Getting a consistently good doubles pairing would be a significant plus and not an impossibility. The Bryan brothers haven't exactly rocked the singles rankings, but their doubles record is pretty good.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13 petebutty

    Seriously I have never heard such utter rubbish. Why don't you try learning at least a little bit about Andy before commenting on him. Your idiotic, ill-informed drivel takes my breath away.

  • Comment number 15.


    Andy is not anti-English. I can't quite believe people still think this.

    His girlfriend is English.
    His grandparents are English.
    His fitness trainers are English.
    His friends are English.
    He lives in England.

    If that's 'anti-English' then we're all in trouble. So away and don't talk pish.

  • Comment number 16.

    I have no respect for those who post negatives comments about Murray and Davis Cup. I spent six days at the Australian Open seeing Andy's first three games amongst many others. It was obvious that at least 50% of the players on view, male and female were carrying injuries. Players need to rest and plan their schedules.
    If Murray got to the Wimbledon final then pulled up with an old injury in the first set there would be people on here asking why Murray did not plan his schedule.
    As for the anti English arguement - let it go. Being a proud Scot does not mean you are anti- English. I get the impression the Murray's are anti establishment and Scotland has its fair share of officials in suits!
    As for Lendl - I watched him when Murray was on the practice court and it was evident that Murray had respect for him. He can only help.
    As for the sulking comments, I suggest you watch Murray in Australia and the USA. The support he received against Haas at Flushing Meadow for example, helped him to a difficult win.
    Common Andy (in a Scottish accent)

  • Comment number 17.

    I also read that Murray was carrying "injuries" and these prevented him from playing in the Davis Cup. I have little interest in whether he plays in the Davis Cup or not but I am curious about what these injuries are and if they have cleared up or will impact on future play.

  • Comment number 18.

    A lovely programme, and a lovely family. Great to hear Andy speaking for himself, rather than having people like the ridiculous petebutty (13, above), speaking for him.

  • Comment number 19.

    Surely a "British Identity" in tennis could be found a lot easier if Britain's top player was seen consistently playing for Britain in the Davis Cup. If there were more competition amongst British players wrangling for team selection, then I'm sure a greater sense of identity would follow.

  • Comment number 20.

    Re "British identity" this is what Andy Murray said last year

    “Go to our national centre and you’ve got 10 different nationalities all coaching a different way. If we don’t get the results straight away, we panic and change direction. There is no confidence in our technique, no sense of sticking to an idea, no identity, no consistency in the way we teach tennis, so naturally there is no British style."

  • Comment number 21.

    It is all very well to eulogise Murray, and it is true that his achievements can never be taken away;he makes us all very proud. However he continues to decline Davis Cup invitations, and only plays when it suits him.Until he makes himself available for EVERY tie unless injured, he should not be picked for the Olympics. Those places should go to those who do accept their invitations without question, as all the girls do in the Fed cup

  • Comment number 22.

    Petebutty, how dare you accuse Andy Murray of racist behaviour i.e. Being strongly Anti-English, when he is clearly not. You have written this without knowing anything about this man. People see your comments and some will believe them which will only fuel hatred for him. He once said he wanted England to lose at football whilst being ribbed by his friend (Tim Henman) for Scotland not being at WC2006. One incident like this and people are all over it with tabloid mentality. You really are the lowest common denominator if you believe Andy Murray is a racist who hates the English. Our countries all have a fair share of racists who are uneducated, blinkered and unworldly and I assure you that Andy Murray is not within any of these groups. He is a professional sportsman in the limelight and if his demeanor and decisions do not meet with other people's approval then so be it. But he does his job the way he sees best, he is a role model and he is a gentleman. Very few people can claim that. Tennis is a solo career and if he chooses not to partake in the infrequent team events then it is his decision and none of us should judge him as it is his career. I have nothing but admiration for the man and contempt for your comments.

  • Comment number 23.

    I tire of hearing the same criticisms of Murray, just like Henman before him.

    I enjoyed this entry, as it shows Murray as a person - all too many people are keen to write Murray off as miserable/grumpy/dour, when in fact it is apparent he simply finds being in front of a camera too comfortable.

    I have never understood why people in the UK just love to see our sportsmen - tennis players in particular - fail. And I find the obsessive nitpicking over him being Scottish/British as pathetic as it gets.

    Andy Murray in fact reminds me in many ways of David Millar - Millar, the 1984 Tour de France 'King of the Mountains' was another Brit who was painted by certain media sections as a 'dour Scot', who clearly disliked any sort of press attention. However, both Murray and Millar are much more than how they are portrayed on the British media.

    All the best for 2012, Andy!

  • Comment number 24.

    petebutty, stop acting so "american" in your literal interpretation of Murray's supposed anti english viewpoints...I guessing that you amongst a few of the other plums who considered his "anyone but england" quote before the World cup a few years back forgot that this was banter with Henman at the time...

    I'm english and to be honest I appreciate the sheer effort from this guy to get himself to the top 5 year on year out....that level of consistency was almost unheard of before he came on the scene from a player from these isles....

    It seems that people with no appreciation of sporting prowess are the first to slate the man for giving it his all and he is not a natural with public speaking, almost beckham like when he first came on the scene and this comes accross as'd rather a John Terry type persona with your sportsman??!!


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