I’m privileged to say I have some great people from the world of sport in my life, from all different areas. They include commentators, pundits and athletes from many different sports, and Judy Murray is one of them.
Not only was she a great support to me when Elena my wife and I were going through our biggest battle, but also after Elena passed, she was there, unconditionally for me, even making special trips to Ipswich for me personally and for the children of The Elena Baltacha Foundation – which she is patron of.
Judy has in the past, wrongly been seen as quite a hard personality, a tough tennis mum, this could not be further from the truth. Being a tennis parent is a very tough gig; after all, it involves the person, or people in Judy’s case who mean the most to you. Sport, especially tennis, is demanding, and can take a toll on an athlete’s body and mind. A parent has to witness it all, so it’s no wonder that Judy often had a very intense look on her face, during Andy and Jamie’s matches – this gave a lot of people the wrong impression.
I’m so pleased that through her involvement in Strictly Come Dancing the public have connected with her and have got to know the real Judy Murray, a warm, intelligent lady with a great personality. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting her will tell you this; she gives you her time and makes you feel special.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Judy to attend her first evening on Strictly, what a fantastic experience this was. I used to dance myself, ballroom and Latin, and we are a big dancing family, including a couple of family members who teach internationally. My sister Anna came with me, she teaches and is a massive Strictly fan, so as you can imagine, she had an unbelievable experience.
It was great to see Judy with all the Strictly stars in the teachers’ and dancers’ lounge, and the genuinely close relationship that she had developed with her partner Anton Du Beke. In fact, watching Judy interact with all the dancers and celebrities, it was clear that she was genuinely very popular. It goes without saying that my sister made the most of this opportunity and talked to many of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing.
Both Judy and Anton Du Beke gave the Strictly crowds and viewers so much entertainment; they stayed in the competition all the way to the Blackpool Tower special week, which is an impressive achievement for someone who confessed “I am the worst dancer!”
Judy would be the first to admit that she is not the best dancer in the world, but she gave it everything, every week, and was massively popular with the watching viewers.
Judy’s sons have achieved much through the tennis world, they are both Grand Slam Champions, including Wimbledon, Andy is also a multiple ATP title holder and Olympic Champion.
I think Judy has done an incredible job, not only bringing up the boys and guiding them through their early years, but also building the development pathway for Scotland Tennis, which many great tennis players have emerged from, coincidentally, including the great Leon Smith, Captain of our world beating Davis Cup Champions.Embed from Getty Images
She then went on to support the boys on the professional tour, seeing both Andy Murray and Jamie Murray achieve incredible successes, and if this was not enough, go on to create programmes and training systems, such as Miss Hits, Tennis on the Road and She Rallies that have had a major effect on girls and women in tennis.
Judy has much, much more to offer, it will be very interesting to watch her personal story unfold now.
If you would like to find out more about Judy Murray and the Murray story, here is a link to her book: Knowing the Score, My Family and Our Tennis Story