Judy Murray has admitted that watching her two sons making tennis history in the last 15 years has been a stressful experience, as she told Tennis365’s Kevin Palmer she is ‘lucky to be alive’ after witnessing a series of epic battles featuring Andy and Jamie.
The Murray brothers have collected ten Grand Slam titles between them in sensational singles and doubles careers that have long since secured their place in British sporting folklore, with the influence and support of their mother Judy hugely significant in their rise to prominence in tennis.
In an exclusive interview with Tennis365 as she hosted her latest coaching sessions for children and adults at The Campus, Quinta do Lago, Murray gave us an insight into the path she followed to give her boys the best chance of success and she started by admitting her stress levels have often taken her to breaking point.
“I’m surprised I’m still alive, to be honest,” began Judy with a smile. “It is not easy watching your own children go through this kind of stress at your local club, but put it on a big stage and it magnifies everything.
“Any parent just wants what is best for their kids. Whether they are on a stage or a tennis court, you can’t help them win on the big day.
“All you can do as a parent is to make sure you encourage them in the right manner and ensure that your continued support is not conditional on whether they win or not. It has to be about fun at the start because if they don’t enjoy it in the formative stages, they will not continue.
“Knowing when your children are good enough to take any sport to the next level and maybe consider a professional career in sport is a tough task and it can also be risky because at the start, the parents are the only ones who will fund it.
“There are no guarantees, especially in tennis. The mental side of the game is so important in our sport and there is so much more in our sport than just having a talent for playing tennis.
“You don’t know when they are young if they can take it to another level. Having a talent is one thing, but you need someone to spot that talent, nurture it and see if they can take it to another level. Then it is all about hard work.
“You need someone at the age of 15 or 16 who is ready to take something that is a hobby and make it something else, with real commitment. Even if they have the talent to make it, they might not have the commitment.
“It’s all about bringing the right attitude to the court, enjoying the pain and the challenge. You are on the road for a lot of the year, away from your friends and family and it is tough. You have got to love the game and love the torture of the competition if you are going to make it.”
Despite celebrating her 60th birthday last September, Judy’s relentless schedule includes work for the WTA, the LTA and her own highly successful foundation in Scotland and yet she admits she relishes the challenge she gives herself.
“I’m keeping busy and I like it that way,” she adds. “My passion has always been teaching people how to make tennis interesting. That means giving coaches ideas, working with kids and adults to create a fun environment for our sport to grow.
“I feel it’s vital that people like me get out there and do that as we have a lot of competition from other sports, music and dance, martial arts classes, the technology we are looking at too much and all of that can take kids away from our sport.
“With that in mind need to work harder than ever before to make sure tennis gets people playing and then keeps them when they take up the sport.
“Sharing my philosophy on how tennis can be the sport for them drives me on and it is vital for the future of our game because there is a danger it could go into decline. If I can help to give coaches good ideas to help make our sport more stimulating, then I’m happy to play the role.
“I have to admit that I have started to find travelling a little tiring in the last 12 months, but this has been an especially busy year for me. I am asked to go to conferences and attend events all over the world and I try to do as much as possible as I’ve never lost my passion for what I do, but as I approached my 60th birthday last September, it felt like it might be time to start cutting back a little bit.
“So I’ve decided to take up golf! I have been inspired by seeing the wonderful goal courses at Quinta do Lago and it’s hard not be enchanted by the amazing courses they have here. Maybe you will see me on golf courses a little more often from now on.”
Judy Murray is an ambassador for The Campus, Quinta do Lago. For more information about her tennis camps in Portugal, click here – https://www.quintadolago.com/en/judy-murray-adult-tennis-camps/
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