Family fortune shines on Broady even through rift
THEY are the new kids on the (training) block. There is a family atmosphere in British men’s tennis right now, the likes of Liam Broady, Kyle Edmund and James Ward benefiting from a benevolent big brother in the form of Andy Murray as they chart their way through the sport.
Just as Roland Garros saw Edmund rack up his first Grand Slam win, yesterday it was Broady’s time to embrace the limelight. The 21-year-old from Stockport roared back from two sets down against Marinko Matosevic of Australia to record his first win in the main draw of a major event by a 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 scoreline, and his exuberance was only slightly tempered by the heartache in his real family which lies beneath it all.
The story goes something like this: Broady, a bearded Manchester City fan who was once ranked the No.2 junior player in the world, is estranged from his father Simon. The pair have not spoken for three years, ever since Liam took the decision to return to the LTA fold, his dad having previously sold the family house to bankroll his children’s tennis development in disgust at the governing body’s decision to withdraw his sister Naomi’s funding for a lack of discipline. Their evidence was some indiscreet internet postings on the social networking site Bebo, one of which saw the teenager on a night out, her leg draped over a condom machine. However, the Broady bunch made it to SW19 yesterday, this brother and sister act became the first set of British siblings to appear in the main draw at Wimbledon since Buster and Linda Mottram back in 1978.
So while his sister watched, ironically leaving when he was two sets down, dad did not. “To be honest, my dad’s not even popped into my head with the result,” said Liam. “But it was fantastic to have my sister there and the rest of my family watching. That’s what makes it more special.”
Asked if he thought the win might help the family come together, he said: “I doubt it. But we’ll see. I don’t know whether he watched it or not because obviously we’re not in touch.”
Thankfully, in his father’s absence, others have stepped up to the plate. Broady, who now faces David Goffin of Belgium, paid tribute to his trainer Ric [Moylan], coach Mark [Hilton], and mentor Adrian [Tannock]. His Glaswegian Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith received a post- match hug, and Murray got a mention, even if the world No.3 had been complicit in forcing him into a rather apologetic public speech at March’s Davis Cup tie with the USA at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. The Scot has not actually invited Broady out to practise with him in Miami, but he did offer some instant congratulations via Twitter afterwards.
“I’ve never been out to Miami,” said Broady. “But that’s probably because of the time I practised with him before Davis Cup, and I was actually pretty terrible. Obviously you’ve got to be a pretty good player to play with Andy and I was quite nervous around him. But at the Davis Cup I had a chance to practise with him a bit again and I was a bit better. It’s just good to be around Andy. He wants the British players to do well. To have someone like that is invaluable.”
Like Murray, there were a few choice words, enough to earn a code violation for audible obscenity and a $2,500 fine. “I wouldn’t have sworn if I knew how much it was.”
While Broady defended his decision to return to the LTA fold, Edmund was preparing for his first-round match against the talented Alexander Dolgopolov of Ukraine. The 20-yearold Yorkshireman, cheered on by Murray in Paris, practised and lunched with the world No.3 again just before Queen’s Club. He also said he would ask the Scot for a few pointers on his tricky opponent, and revealed that a mix-up which had led to him missing the world No.3’s nuptials.
“At the time of the wedding, I was playing in America, so I said ‘Sorry, I can’t’,” said Edmund. “But then I was a little bit ill, and my coach’s wife had her due date brought early. So we decided to come back and I was actually in the UK on the day. They said you should have said and we would have arranged it. But I didn’t want to upset anything. He was cool about it.”
Thinking of an original wedding gift was also a chore. “When we’ve been out in Miami, he’s let me stay in his apartment,” added Edmund, who has Ward and Aljaz Bedene for company in the second round today.
“He’s done a lot for me so I felt like I needed to give him a proper gift. So I got him a caricature. It was of him and Kim with the two dogs by the side. Andy was in a kilt. And do you remember that T-shirt that Kim wore, saying Parental Advisory? I had that on there as well. He said he found it really funny. Maybe he didn’t but he said he did.”
I was actually pretty terrible. Obviously you’ve got to be a pretty good player to play with Andy and I was quite nervous around him