The making of Murray: The rise and rise of our great hope in white
The world No 3 in men's tennis represents Britain's best chance of glory at Wimbledon since Fred Perry won in 1936. How did he get here?
Sunday 21 June 2009
Judy Murray, 49, mother and first coach
"I remember one parent trying to intimidate Andy in an under-12 boys' doubles match. Andy ended up hitting a ball towards him, as if to say, 'Will you just shut up?' He played for Britain in the under-16s championship and they played Spain in the final. After the final was over he went off and played racquetball with Nadal, and he came on the phone afterwards and said, 'I've just played racquetball with Rafa, and do you know what? He trains with Carlos Moya [then the world No 1]. Who have I got to play with – you and my brother.' I was on the phone thinking 'Great', because it was all coming from him that I'm not doing enough, and he went: 'I wanna go and train in Spain!'"
Leon Smith, Murray's coach from the ages of 11 to 17 who now works for the Lawn Tennis Association
"I remember that when I was 16 or 17 Andy was a little kid playing 'little tennis', and even then you could tell he was special. At the end of my first year with him we went to Miami and he won the Orange Bowl. That's when we knew he was one of the best in the world for his age. On the court he wants to win. Off the court he was really good fun to be around, a normal child who played board games and computer games."
Joanne Burns, English teacher at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona where Murray trained from the ages of 15 to 17
"Andy was a quiet, shy young man, who appeared very modest about his tennis abilities. He appeared no different from any other student. I don't doubt that if he had approached his studies with the same energy as his tennis he would have been an academic success also. But then, he didn't have the same passion for school as he had for tennis. He wasn't a troublemaker: rather, he was a polite young man who was always willing to oblige, so long as it didn't involve waking up early in the morning."
David Navarro, 24, a teenage friend in Spain
"When he came to the academy he was amazing. He improved so fast they put him with players ranked 120 on the ATP rating and he would beat them. As a person he was quiet. He had three or four good friends, but with people he didn't really know he was less relaxed because he is shy. Some people say he's rude, but with us he was so humble. We used to do normal things, dinner, go to the beach – he was a normal guy."
William Alvarez, Murray's trainer at the Sanchez-Casal Academy
"The first time I saw Andy play I saw that his method was very good. He made very quick progress. He was a very good boy. He never caused any trouble. He worked very hard and looked after the younger players. He was like any normal boy: sometimes he liked to work and sometimes he didn't."
Emilio Sanchez Vicario, founder of the Sanchez-Casal Academy
"When I first saw him he walked in what I can only describe as a loose way. Then I played him and realised how good he could be. He had a very good reaction. Those are things you don't learn: you either have them or you don't. In the practices he worked, but he was a bit looser. In a real game he would become really focused."
Tom Rushby, 22, friend and teenage doubles partner. Coaches at the Duffield Lawn Tennis Club in Derby
"I first met Andy aged 11 when he came to Derby from Scotland to play a tournament. We played against each other and were doubles partners from 12 onwards. As a tennis player he was mega-talented. He hit shots that a lot of players in the world couldn't hit. He's got a really intelligent tennis brain. We were 50/50 until he got to 17, then he really started to kick on. He was always very easy to get along with. He's a really nice person and very funny off the court. Outside tennis we used to play football. When we played for GB under-14s and 16s we'd play five-a-side and be challenged by the other European teams, so we'd play against people like Nadal."
Willie Murray, father, 53
"Andy has been very competitive since he was a small child. When Judy and I finally did split up, it was quite difficult. I looked after the boys for about six or seven years and it was tough – but I'm very proud of what they've achieved. Andy used to come golfing and he was also good but he got bored with it quite easily. There wasn't enough action for him."
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