Scotland

Superfan's tributes to Andy Murray as he announces tennis retirement

Andy Murray fan
Image caption Superfan Joan MacGillivray made a hat to wear when she watches Andy playing

An Andy Murray superfan has shared her heartbreak at the news he is to retire.

Murray made the announcement he is to step back from professional tennis during an emotional press conference in Melbourne.

The former world number one said he hoped his final tournament would be Wimbledon in the summer but fears next week's Australian Open may be his last.

The three-time Grand Slam winner has been struggling with his form since undergoing hip surgery last January.

A role model

Joan MacGillivray, from Inverness, sobbed when she spoke to Radio Scotland and said: "I'm so sad that he's not going to be playing anymore."

She added: "I have loved watching Andy since the beginning... Andy has no idea about how many lives he has enhanced just by playing tennis. He has made so many lives better just by being him."

Ms MacGillivray has travelled around the world to watch Andy's matches - from Canada to Serbia and plenty of places in between. She said his fans had "followed him every step of the way".

And her praise of Murray did not stop at his skills on the tennis court. She added he is "the best role model any person could ever have for their son", and said he was a "champion of equality and fairness" for speaking out about issues such as sexism in sport.

She said the picture she has of the two of them together - taken when he stopped to meet her despite being in a rush to catch a flight - took "pride of place" in her living room.

Image caption Joan MacGillivray hopes Andy Murray makes it to Wimbledon this summer

Asked what her favourite moment was in his career, Ms MacGillivray said there was no contest: "Winning the Davis Cup - that lob at the end is absolutely phenomenal.

"The Belgian Davis Cup team partied with us afterwards because they were so proud of Andy winning."

Ms MacGillivray hopes Murray makes it to Wimbledon this summer.

She said: "I'd like to see him have a rest and then bow out nicely at Wimbledon and we'll all be there to support him no matter what he chooses to do.

"I'd move heaven and earth to be there to see him [at Wimbledon this summer].

"He's special, he's absolutely special."

Image caption Brian Melville coached a young Andy Murray

Speaking from Dunblane, Andy Murray's former tennis coach Brian Melville said: "He was always a winner, even at a young age."

Mr Melville, who coached Andy for a year when he was seven, said the tennis star had to think about his future.

He said: "It is a shame but he's injured and he has a family.

"He's still young and he has his whole life, so he has to think about that."

'Brilliant player'

He said he ended up coaching the youngster because he was not listening to his mum, Judy's instructions: "He wouldn't do as he was told for his mum, so we swapped children for about a year. Judy coached mine and I coached Andy.

"He was a brilliant player for that age and it just developed and developed," he said.

Speaking about the prospect of Dunblane creating another tennis success story, he said he hoped someone local would follow in Andy's footsteps.

He added: "When you think about tennis, you think about Dunblane.

"It's a sense of a pride that I know him, and it's sad that it's coming to an end - but all good things come to an end.

"He's a family man now, he has to think about his health as well. He's a young lad and he has to think about the rest of his life."

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