Andy Murray column: How injury helped me appreciate art & my Wimbledon return

Andy Murray

In his latest BBC Sport column, Andy Murray discusses how his time out with a career-threatening hip injury allowed him to discover art and led to some 'disastrous' attempts at painting and pottery. The Scot also talks about the emotions of his competitive return to Wimbledon and his men's doubles partnership with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

While I was out injured I decided to give painting a go one night when I was bored - and from that point I started getting into art.

I wouldn't say it was a means of escape from my injury problems as such, it was more that I had more time on my hands and that made me realise there are other things to do out there, not just the sport or the job you're doing.

So, how did I get into it? Well, a couple of my friends are really interested in art and I always used to make fun of them because they would show me a piece of art and I would say 'that looks like something I could do'.

My wife Kim is a talented artist and paints and has canvasses, oils and acrylics, so one night I gave it a go.

Kim Sears used to have a website dedicated to her work, along with an Instagram account which included an image of this painting of a labrador
Kim Sears had a website dedicated to her work, along with an Instagram account which included an image of this painting of a labrador

I wasn't trying to paint anything in particular. When I've looked at different pieces of art, sometimes I've not known what it is. So I was just trying to paint something - and my attempts were hilarious!

I was trying to flick the paint and use all sorts of techniques but I was getting it on the ceiling, everywhere. It was a disaster!

It was a one-off experiment, and I am happy to hang up my brushes!

But from that point I realised art is something I should appreciate more. I think that happens with sport as well, when you try something new or you sit close to the pitch or court and watch it, you appreciate it more and just how difficult it is.

That developed my interest in art and I learned a bit about it, by going to galleries and exhibitions and then chatting to friends about it.

I realised it is much harder to paint than it looks and once you start to get into it you are then able to tell which artists painted which piece by their style, which is interesting.

When there are so many artists out there, it is difficult to have a style that is unique to you. I suppose that's similar with sport too, where everyone has their unique way of playing, it can be hard to make your own particular style stand out.

Andy Murray
Murray follows a number of artists on Instagram, recently liking these two pieces by Sage Barnes

I prefer modern, contemporary art. I like looking at that because it is fun and different.

And I don't care if I really like something and someone thinks it is terrible, it doesn't matter, That's the beauty of art - you like what you like and see it differently to other people.

There is a lady called Maggi Hambling, a British painter and sculptor, who I like - she is best known for landscapes and seascapes.

I have met her a couple of times and she is a big tennis fan.

I haven't been to many galleries, so I wouldn't say I've got a favourite gallery in the world, and I've not been travelling much while I've been injured.

But going to see more galleries and exhibitions was one of the things I tried to do when I was travelling on the tour.

When I was training in Philadelphia a few months back I managed to visit a couple of galleries. Miami hosts a big art fair, I enjoyed wandering round, it's definitely something I want to do more of.

I'm back at Wimbledon and enjoying myself after last year's pain

Andy Murray practises at Wimbledon
Murray is partnering Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the men's doubles at Wimbledon

Being at Wimbledon this year, where I'll be playing in the doubles as I continue my comeback from hip surgery, is very different to when I was here last year.

Last year I was planning to play in the singles but had to pull out on the eve of the tournament because I was in too much pain with my hip.

I had a practice with Diego Schwartzman a couple of days before the tournament and it was just miserable. It wasn't fun, it wasn't enjoyable.

I didn't feel like I could compete for three or four matches in a row. Maybe I'd have lost in the first round and that would have been painful.

Now I'm just enjoying playing tennis without any pain in my hip.

Practising with Pierre-Hugues Herbert, my partner in the men's doubles, has been fun. He's a great doubles player but relaxed and laid back.

Our first practice on Friday didn't go too well but we spent a bit of time together over the weekend and hopefully that has helped us understand each other better.

Hopefully when the matches come we can play well and have a good run together. I can't wait to get back out there.

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport's Jonathan Jurejko at Wimbledon.

Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details

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