Andy Murray opens up about effects of Dunblane massacre, anxiety and how ‘tennis is an escape’

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“My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up,” is how Andy Murray explained the importance of tennis to him.

The Amazon Prime documentary Andy Murray: Resurfacing premiered in London on Monday and common theme was his love for tennis.

‘Sporting immortality does not come easy’ – Andy Murray: Resurfacing provides a unique portrait of an icon

When asked by director Olivia Cappuccini about his passion for the sport, he explained how he used it as an “escape” following the Dunblane school massacre in 1996.

The three-time Grand Slam winner and his brother Jamie were at Dunblane Primary School when Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher before shooting himself.

Murray admits he bottled things up after the incident as well as his parents’ divorce, but tennis helped him to overcome some of the trauma.

In a voice note to Cappuccini, Murray said: “You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me. I had the thing that happened at Dunblane, when I was around nine.

“I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons. The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids’ club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things.

“Within 12 months of that happening, our parents got divorced. It was a difficult time. To see that and not quite understand what is going on.

“And then six to 12 months after that, my brother also moved away from home. He went away to train to play tennis. We obviously used to do everything together. When he moved away that was also quite hard for me.

“Around that time and after that, for a year or so, I had lots of anxiety that came out when I was playing tennis. When I was competing I would get really bad breathing problems.

“My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up. I don’t know because we don’t talk about these things. They are not things that are discussed.

“The way that I am, on the tennis court, I show some positive things about my personality and I also show the bad things and things I really hate. Tennis allows me to be that child, that has all of these questions, and that’s why tennis is important to me.”

Andy Murray: Resurfacing will be released on Friday November 29 on Amazon Prime Video.

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