For a tennis player that looked to be bidding farewell to tennis at the Australian Open back in January, he somehow still managed to be one of the biggest stars on court at Wimbledon come July.
The 32-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion teamed up with Serena Williams to play doubles as his comeback following make-or-break hip surgery continues.
While the all-star duo didn’t make it to the final, for a while they were the All England Club’s hottest ticket.
Back in business! British tennis ace Andy Murray almost bid farewell to the game at Christmas but after a hip re-surfacing operation managed to make the doubles at Wimbledon. He tells Femail that while he’s hopeful of a return to the singles game, he’s not ‘feeling any pressure to come back quickly’
Family man: Murray pictured in a rare outing with wife Kim, who set the rumour mill whirling after she sported a maternity brand at Wimbledon, leaving fans to speculate the couple are soon to welcome a third child
Hot ticket: Murray says: ‘It’s been great being back on court and I really enjoyed playing doubles with Serena’
In the days after Wimbledon, Femail caught up with the father-of-two. After Murray’s wife Kim was pictured wearing a maternity brand while supporting him at SW19, speculation is rife that the couple are preparing to extend their brood.
Here, Murray tells Femail how he persuades his two young daughters, Sophia, three, and Edie, one, to step away from digital entertainment and take their first steps into sport, as he launches a new campaign to encourage youngsters to enjoy physical activities to help keep themselves healthy.
At the Australian Open, the tennis world pretty much said its farewells…but you just took Wimbledon by storm! Did you feel tennis was writing you off a little too soon?
‘At that stage, none of us really knew what the future held, as nobody has ever had an operation like I was about to undergo, and come back successfully on the singles circuit.
‘We are still not totally sure to what level I’ll be able to return to, but it’s been great being back on court and I really enjoyed playing doubles with Serena.
I’m working really hard in training and hope to be able to be back playing singles soon, but am not feeling any pressure to come back quickly as its important I do the right thing for my body and that may take time.
The dad-of-two says if his two daughters, Sophia, three, and Edie, nearly two, want to enter the game professionally he’ll ‘cross that bridge when we come to it’
Do you feel pressure to get Sophia and Edie to pick up a racket? Might you try and put them off professional tennis knowing how hard it is to play competitively?
Competitive sports can be high pressure and stressful, but also extremely rewarding. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs in my career, but they have helped shape me into the person that I am today and I think I am a stronger person for it.
I’ll be encouraging them to have fun and get moving and then we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it and it’s something they are interested in pursuing.
Children increasingly look to digital devices for entertainment? How do you persuade them to put them down and get outdoors?
It’s definitely hard and I’m sure most parents can sympathise as technology is such an ingrained part of life – but it’s all about balance. We have found that making games or physical activity fun and exciting, is the best way to engage them.
It’s also important to teach kids from a young age that they don’t need any particular skills to play sports or to be active. They may think they need to be ‘fast’ or ‘strong’ when actually, all they need to be is themselves.
Murray and the Lionesses are supporting a new Change4Life and Disney UK physical activity campaign inspiring children to get active with a 10 Minute Shake Up games this summer
You’re famous for your absurd diet when training – including the 50 pieces of sushi in one sitting. How important has diet been to your recovery?
‘Diet is a really important part of any athletes regime and something I have been focusing on a lot in the past couple of years. My diet actually changed quite a bit whilst I was in recovery from the hip operation as I focused on foods that reduced inflammation.
‘Having said that I do like to have treats from time to time and am quite partial to a chocolate biscuit! My focus is obviously different to what most normal people would eat but I think the “everything in moderation” way of thinking is a sensible approach to diet – the same goes for children.’
There have been plenty of stylish/fashion-led photoshoots over the years – are you getting better at getting your glad rags on?
Finding his fashion feet: Murray says he’s ‘definitely more comfortable in sportswear’ but has learned to enjoy ‘getting dressed up’ in recent years
‘I’m definitely more comfortable on the tennis court in sportswear! But it’s nice to have a change every now and then and get dressed up.
I’m developing my own sportswear line with Castore, and so looking at design and fashion is something I’m having to do as part of that process, and I’m finding it really interesting.’
You seem to be up for a laugh on social media – there’s been photos of teddies, giant lilos and even your wedding in emojis – how much do you enjoy it?
I do enjoy it – I like to be able to connect with my fans and it’s great for me when I’m travelling to be able to keep up with what my friends and family are doing. I also follow other sportsmen and women and my favourite teams too. Obviously, there can be nasty and negative comments, but I don’t waste time on those.
Andy, who has called himself a feminist in the past, with his mum Judy, who has worked on various campaigns to encourage more girls to get into sport
Your mum, Judy Murray, has played a big role in getting more girls into playing tennis – but it still isn’t on most state school sports curriculums? Does it remain an elite sport?
Murray and his wife Kim pictured at the Wimbledon winner’s ball in 2016
I would love to see more children and young people playing tennis at school level, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that children are being active and having fun whilst doing it, no matter what sport or physical activity they are doing.
The exposure you get from sport and physical activity as a child can shape the way you view it in the future so it’s important to make sport appealing and fun right from the start.
Did you follow the Lionesses? And the Scottish team, of course…
‘It was great to watch! Every woman taking part has been a role model to their country and an inspiration to young girls everywhere.
The Lionesses have done their very own 10 Minute Shake Up – they’ve made some of the key football training elements really simple to get even more little girls thinking about picking up a ball and having a kick-about.
Andy Murray and The FA Lionesses are supporting a new physical activity campaign from PHE’s Change4Life and Disney UK, inspiring children to get active with 10 Minute Shake Up games this summer. This year the Change4Life website is also hosting an online quiz to help children, with their parents, find activities and sports that might be perfect for them to try. Search ‘Change4Life’.