Judy mur­ray

We serve up an ace by sign­ing Scot­tish sport­ing per­son­al­ity as colum­nist ‘ The Post has al­ways been in my fam­ily. I grew up on The Broons and Oor Wul­lie’

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali Kirker akirker@sun­day­post.com

WHE N you meet Judy Mur­ray in per­son, she’s much softer- fea­tured than she ap­pears on TV.

She’s slim and pe­tite and wear­ing pat­terned dun­ga­rees that, frankly, not many of us could get away with. She car­ries them off with style.

She was once known sim­ply for be­ing Andy and Jamie Mur­ray’s mum, never far away from the ten­nis court side­lines, shout­ing and en­cour­ag­ing them on.

In the last few years, though, that’s changed. She’s got more than 220,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter. She’s of­ten in the news.

And let’s not for­get the much talked-about ap­pear­ance on Strictly Come Danc­ing in 2014. She part­nered with An­ton Du Beke – and showed that ac­tu­ally, she was far from the dour “ten­nis mum” she’d of­ten been por­trayed as. More about that later.

In short, she has be­come a “name” in her own right.

And, as The Sun­day Post’s new colum­nist, you’ll see that she’s great fun – but she’s not afraid to voice an opinion, ei­ther.

Her achieve­ments are many and well-known. But, at 58, she’s not fin­ished yet. And she’s ab­so­lutely thrilled to be bring­ing you her news and views every week.

“Well, you know, The Sun­day Post has al­ways been in my fam­ily. My mum and dad are to­tal stal­warts and get the pa­per every week,” she says.

“Ob­vi­ously I re­mem­ber grow­ing up read­ing Oor Wul­lie and The Broons and Andy is very for­tu­nate to have had a cou­ple of Oor Wul­lie strips that he starred in.

“It’s just such a huge thing if you’re Scot­tish.”

Per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly, though, her favourite part of the pa­per has been ten­nis-re­lated.

“When I was a teenage ten­nis player I re­mem­ber ab­so­lutely lov­ing The Sun­day Post be­cause John Lloyd had a col­umn when he was mar­ried to Chris Evert,” she re­mem­bers. “And I loved Chris Evert. He would talk about what she had for break­fast and what dresses she was wear­ing.

“It was a run­down of her whole week at Wim­ble­don. I ab­so­lutely loved that. It was a lit­tle in­sight into things you don’t nor­mally read about.

“I’ve al­ways loved the fact it’s about fam­ily and com­mu­nity, too.”

She ded­i­cated so much of her life to help­ing Andy and Jamie get to the top that when you talk to Judy about it, it all sounds faintly ex­haust­ing.

And, though she’s still on a mis­sion to bring the fun of play­ing ten­nis to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, she makes a bit of time for her­self now. She loves the spa at Gle­nea­gles and then there’s the small mat­ter of that tat­too she got a few months ago.

So, Judy, I say... I only just found about that tat­too of yours.

“Oh did you now?” she gig­gles. “It’s a spi­der on my back. The epi­logue of my book is that our story is one of never giv­ing up. Our backs were to the wall at times, but we car­ried on.

“It re­minds me of Robert The Bruce, watch­ing the spi­der spin­ning its web and fail­ing – then even­tu­ally man­ag­ing to do it. I just thought, you know what, I’m do­ing it.”

She’s a granny now and dotes on Andy and wife Kim’s daugh­ter Sophia.

“Oh, it’s lovely to have a lit­tle girl in the fam­ily to fuss over!” she says.

Both her sons have twice been Wim­ble­don cham­pi­ons – Andy in sin­gles, Jamie in mixed dou­bles – and have won numer­ous other ti­tles but ask Judy what her proud­est mo­ment is and she in­stantly chooses some­thing closer to home.

“There’s no ques­tion: The Davis Cup semi- fi­nal in 2015 against Aus­tralia at The Emi­rates in Glas­gow,” she says. “I’ve had loads of proud mo­ments. But this one stands out for a num­ber of rea­sons.

“It was the semi-fi­nal, mid­dle day when they play the dou­bles. Sit­ting in The Emi­rates, it’s heav­ing, 8000 peo­ple there and the at­mo­sphere was in­cred­i­ble.

“The boys came on to play dou­bles to­gether. They were led on by cap­tain Leon Smith, who is like my third son, a coach I’ve kind of men­tored since he was a young lad.

“And the noise when they walked

My life might have changed a lot in the last 10 years but I haven’t

on was in­cred­i­ble. I just sat there think­ing, if some­one had told me 40, 30, maybe even 20 years ago I’d be sit­ting in a sta­dium in the east end of Glas­gow where you can’t find a ten­nis court, watch­ing Scot­tish play­ers and a Scot­tish cap­tain con­test­ing the semi-fi­nal of the world team event I would have said, nah.”

She pauses to re­mem­ber the mo­ment, grin­ning.

“That was ev­ery­thing to me. It was ten­nis in Scot­land, they were rep­re­sent­ing Great Bri­tain, with a coach I’d nur­tured. It had it all.”

When I ask about whether she ever felt like giv­ing up dur­ing long years of slog­ging to help her boys reach the top, she gives me a de­tailed an­swer about how money was of­ten a strug­gle.

Re­ally, though, the short an­swer is no – giv­ing up isn’t in her makeup. When she sets her mind to some­thing, she’s as stub­born as they come.

It’s why she spends so much time trav­el­ling up and down Scot­land with her Ten­nis On The Road pro­gramme, bring­ing the joy of sport to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.

That’s not to say she doesn’t let her hair down. She loves a night out with her friends.

“Oh, def­i­nitely. Ideal night would be an Ital­ian meal, then on to a mu­si­cal. I’ve seen so many great mu­si­cals,” she says. “But with­out a doubt my favourite is Jersey Boys. You don’t re­alise how many great songs Frankie Valli wrote. It’s fan­tas­tic.”

Judy hit the head­lines a few years ago when she nick­named Span­ish ten­nis player Feli­ciano Lopez “Deli­ciano”, much to Andy’s mor­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Signed up to any­one else’s fan club, Judy?

“Oh, of course, I’m a fan of Ge­orge Clooney. And I was lucky enough to meet him a few years ago at a fundraiser,” she says.

“He’s a fab­u­lous speaker. I was very for­tu­nate to be sit­ting at the top ta­ble, at the front of the stage. I could have put my hand out like this ( she sticks her arm out) and touched him!

“I was in­tro­duced to him – and he told me he knew who I was. He was at Wim­ble­don in 2013 when Andy won. And then he said I had a won­der­ful lit­tle B&B. He meant Crom­lix ( the ho­tel Andy bought that same year).

“I was re­ally tick­led he even knew who I was. Af­ter that I be­came an even big­ger fan!”

What does Andy think of Judy be­ing The Sun­day Post’s new colum­nist?

“Ac­tu­ally, I haven’t told him!” she laughs.

She loved the whole Strictly ex­pe­ri­ence. I don’t think she’ll mind us say­ing she wasn’t quite the world’s great­est dancer.

“I had such a bril­liant time danc­ing with An­ton. My first dance was Mull of Kin­tyre. And while we were re­hears­ing a pro­ducer came over and we were dis­cussing us­ing dry ice,” she re­mem­bers. “An­ton asked, could we get it up to her neck?” She roars with laugh­ter.

She’s packed so much into her 58 years, I won­der if she has any re­grets.

“When I was fin­ish­ing school, I had the op­por­tu­nity to go to Amer­ica, to the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia on a schol­ar­ship,” she says. “It wasn’t the done thing then and I wasn’t brave enough. But I don’t re­ally be­lieve in look­ing back and be­ing re­gret­ful.”

When did she first re­alise she was fa­mous in her own right? She al­most shud­ders.

“I don’t think of my­self as be­ing fa­mous,” she says. “I bris­tle when peo­ple call me a celebrity. I think it’s prob­a­bly a Scot­tish thing. I know my life has changed a lot in the last 10 years, but I haven’t changed.”

I’m pretty sure she’s right.

The Mur­rays are loyal read­ers of your favourite newspaper, and ten­nis ace Andy has even en­joyed the rare hon­our of a star­ring role in Oor Wul­lie, far left. Now mum Judy, a fully paid-up mem­ber of the Ge­orge Clooney fan club, will be writ­ing for you every Sun­day.

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