I’m liv­ing my life the way I want to now

Ten­nis coach and mother of ten­nis play­ers andy and Jamie, Judy mur­ray, 58, shares her mem­o­ries, pas­sions, fears and habits

Woman & Home - - Contents -

says ten­nis coach Judy mur­ray

what is your ear­li­est mem­ory? walk­ing along a clifftop in scot­land, where i grew up, with my mum and one of my broth­ers; the wind was so strong and i just re­mem­ber us all laugh­ing our heads off. we were al­ways out and about as a fam­ily, walk­ing or swim­ming.

did you have a ca­reer plan B? when i fin­ished univer­sity, my first job was as a sales rep for a con­fec­tionery com­pany, and i worked my way up to be­come a na­tional ac­count man­ager. i gave that up when the boys came along, and it was only when they got a bit older that i de­cided to re­join the ten­nis club i’d been a mem­ber of when i was a kid. i started to coach on a vol­un­tary ba­sis – and i haven’t looked back!

Best de­ci­sion you’ve ever made? Go­ing for the scot­tish na­tional coach job when it came up in 1994. the boys were still quite young – andy, seven and Jamie, eight – and i didn’t re­ally have the ex­pe­ri­ence to be a na­tional coach,

but i was per­suaded to try for it by an­other woman. and the funny thing is, if i hadn’t gone for that then my life would have taken a com­pletely dif­fer­ent turn.

and the worst? turn­ing down the op­por­tu­nity to go to amer­ica on a ten­nis schol­ar­ship when i was 17. it was a very un­com­mon thing to do back then and i wasn’t brave enough to go for it. who knows how good i might have be­come!

what is your best qual­ity?

my de­ter­mi­na­tion. when you’re work­ing in a male-dom­i­nated en­vi­ron­ment like the ten­nis world, you need re­silience be­cause you come up against ob­sta­cles all the time. when­ever any­one has told me i can’t do some­thing, i set out to prove them wrong.

and your worst? im­pa­tience – i can’t be both­ered to wait for any­thing, whether it’s a bus or queu­ing in the su­per­mar­ket.

what is the most valu­able piece of ad­vice you’ve re­ceived? it was from

Frank Dick, who coached the likes of olympic gold medal­lists Da­ley thomp­son and se­bas­tian Coe; he said, “it’s not what you have, it’s what you do with what you have.” i live by that now.

what is your great­est fear? Drown­ing. i can trace it back to hav­ing a swim­ming teacher at school who would make us dive into the wa­ter to re­trieve rub­ber bricks. i could never open my eyes un­der wa­ter, so i could never do it and it’s stayed with me all of my life. even when i drive over bridges, i find my­self grip­ping onto the steer­ing wheel.

what is your guilti­est plea­sure? salt and vine­gar Ket­tle Chips – i can get through a large bag on my own.

Your favourite ever fash­ion item? i was a teenager when the bay City Rollers were at their height, and my favourite thing ever was wear­ing those high-waisted trousers with the tar­tan trim, and plat­form shoes.

how do you re­lax? i love go­ing out for good food, a glass of wine and a chat

I’m de­ter­mined to overcome any ob­sta­cles

with my girl­friends. i still have the same set of friends i had in my teenage years and i’m re­ally proud of that.

what has been your most

ex­trav­a­gant pur­chase? my teeth! i was al­ways scared of the den­tist, which led to me not look­ing af­ter my teeth very well, and i got to the stage where i was re­luc­tant to smile prop­erly. i got sick of read­ing sto­ries about me say­ing “she never smiles, she’s so se­ri­ous”, so i made the de­ci­sion to do some­thing about it. it cost around £30,000 – but it’s one of the best things i ever did. what keeps you awake at night? wor­ry­ing about my kids. if they’re in­jured or i know they’re play­ing a match in an­other time zone, i strug­gle to get to sleep. you’d think i’d be used to it by now!

what is your se­cret skill? i’m ac­tu­ally very good at cal­lig­ra­phy. i taught my­self how to do it when i was 15, and ended up get­ting lit­tle jobs writ­ing place cards for wed­dings and events.

and the one you’d love to mas­ter? i’d like to learn how to cook well. when the boys were grow­ing up, i was the queen of ready meals. i’m cur­rently look­ing into do­ing a cook­ing hol­i­day in italy.

what is your pet hate? if i get sat be­hind some­body who’s sniff­ing con­stantly, i can’t stand it. blow your nose!

what is your most trea­sured

pos­ses­sion? my chil­dren’s first teeth. i moved house re­cently and i was ter­ri­fied i was go­ing to lose them, so i kept them in my pocket the whole time. the best thing about the age you are? it’s a mix­ture of con­fi­dence and hav­ing the means to do the things i want to do. For most of my life, financially, it was a strug­gle; all of my spare money went into pay­ing for the boys’ ten­nis com­mit­ments. it’s only now in my fifties that i have both the con­fi­dence and the means to live my life the way that i want to, which is fan­tas­tic.

Judy Mur­ray’s mem­oir, Know­ing the score (Vin­tage), is out now w&h

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