Andy Murray has no shame. He permits his three daughters to give him manicures and dons fairy wings during playtime. He recently posted a picture of himself in a too-small dinosaur costume and another wearing mouse ears and posing with Mickey. When his tennis shoes — and the wedding band he had tied to the laces — disappeared and then suddenly reappeared last year, Murray admitted that they still smelled stinky.
But on the tennis court, Murray, 35, is no joke. Since turning pro 17 years ago, the former world No. 1 has often been hailed as one of the hardest-working pros on the ATP Tour. Though sometimes stymied by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Murray has reached 11 major finals, winning the United States Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016. He also twice won Olympic gold in singles and led Britain to the Davis Cup in 2015.
Murray has also emerged as one of the most measured voices in the sport, a champion for women’s rights and gay rights and prize-money equity. Hip surgery nearly ended his career in 2018. Instead, it has prolonged it.
The following interview, conducted via email, has been edited and condensed.
It’s been 10 years since you reached your first Wimbledon final. What stands out most?
There were a lot of highs and lows during that tournament. One thing I remember clearly was the pressure as it got closer to the final. I don’t think I appreciated how much it meant to the people of the U.K. to have a British man in the final. But my main takeaway was losing to Roger [Federer]. I was really close, and I wanted to win so badly. I felt like I let people down.
You’ve played 70 matches there since your first in 2005. Which one resonates the most with you, and which one would you most like to replay?
The match that resonates the most is when I first won the championship in 2013, but that is also the match that I would most like to replay. It was such a blur. I can’t remember hitting that final ball or climbing up through the crowd to the box even though I’ve seen it replayed a lot.
If you were devising the greatest player in history, which stroke or trait of yours would make the list?
If I had to choose a stroke it would probably be my lob, which has won me quite a few points over the years. Or my determination, which has enabled me to come back from serious injury and keep on improving.
Is your greatest tennis accomplishment that you were able to return to top-level singles with a metal hip?
I don’t know if I’d say that’s my greatest tennis accomplishment. I wish I hadn’t had to go through the hip operations. I had some dark days during that period, and it was certainly a time I had to dig deep to make it through to the other side.
Your support of equity and inclusion is well documented. Where does that come from, and do you treat your son differently from your daughters?
My parents are both compassionate people, and they always encouraged us to treat everyone with respect. I treat my children exactly the same, and I hope they grow up as part of a generation that won’t have barriers or discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation. We’re not there yet, which is why I speak out.
Is this your last Wimbledon? If so, how do you want to be remembered there?
I hope not. I don’t feel like I’m done yet. I hope I’ll be around for a few more years. I’d like to be remembered for being myself. I don’t think I always fit the mold of what a tennis player should be like, and I know I can get frustrated on the court, but I have always tried to be true to who I am and what I believe. I know at the end of my career I will have given absolutely everything, and that’s all you can do.
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