Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Judy Murray: ‘I’ve given a lot to my sport – it’s time for the next generation to step up’

Scotland's mother of tennis has served powerfully, and now the ball is in the court of the sport's young people .

Judy Murray has been a fixture of the tennis scene for 35 years. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.
Judy Murray has been a fixture of the tennis scene for 35 years. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.

Judy Murray wants to play golf.

Yes, at the age of 64, after a lifetime in the tennis coaching world, the mother of champions Jamie and Sir Andy Murray has found a new ball to keep her eye on – and it’s neither yellow nor fuzzy.

“About a year and a half ago, I took up golf,” says Judy cheerfully. “I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I’m not very good at it!” she hastens to add. “I want to get a bit better. But I feel so relaxed on the course. So my long-term goal is to play a lot more golf.”

It makes sense; golf ticks all the boxes you’d expect from a veteran tennis coach – fresh air, exercise, and a skill to be honed.

Judy Murray at Fossoway Tennis Club, as she passes the baton – or racket – to the next generation. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson.

But for Judy, it’s the headspace it affords which has proven to be most valuable.

“I think often for most of us, our phones or our screens can be our biggest enemy. You’re constantly connected to somebody and constantly available,” she observes.

“So I leave my phone at home or in the car, and when I come back, my inbox may be full, but I feel so calm from being on the course that I don’t mind it as much.”

‘Suddenly we were being followed’

Indeed, the “relentlessness” of tennis tours – which can last 11 out of the 12 months of a year – and constant scrutiny of the public eye has meant Judy has had to learn how to manage her mental health more consciously over the years.

“It’s not an easy life, and it is actually exhausting,” Judy says candidly of her years of combining coaching and parenthood on the road with her sons.

“One of the toughest things to learn to deal with, without question, is being in the public eye.

17-year-old Andy Murray with his mum, Judy, who coached him at the beginning of his career. Image: DC Thomson.

“That week in 2005 when Andy went to Wimbledon was really a baptism of fire for all of us.

“Suddenly we had paparazzi outside the little flat that we were staying in, we were being followed and doorstepped. Nobody prepares you for that. But it’s part and parcel of being successful in sport.

“I’m definitely a grin and bear it person,” she adds. “But you know, you do realise you need time for yourself to clear your head, recharge and get back on it again.”

Mother to the ‘other Murray brother’

Yet despite insisting that “I know I need to slow down”, Judy is one busy lady.

Currently, she’s on her way to Courier Country with the wildly successful Duncan and Judy Murray Show, a live comedy show where the gormless, hapless “other Murray brother” Duncan Murray (comedian Chris Forbes) tries desperately to impress her, to little avail.

“Duncan is obviously stand up comedian Chris Forbes, who came up with the idea of the ‘other Murray brother’ – the third brother who was hopeless at everything,” explains Judy.

Judy Murray with Chris Forbes AKA ‘the other Murray brother’, Duncan, on stage at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow. Image: Iain Murray.

“And so the guts of the performance is him putting on a variety show to try to impress me. He does all the work, and I just really have to sit and look disappointed!”

Although live comedy is not something Judy ever expected to see herself doing, she admits she gets a “huge buzz” from being on stage and making people laugh – particularly as she knows her own reputation doesn’t always bring the word ‘funny’ to mind.

In fact, she admits even her son Andy begged her in the past to “not try and be funny”.

“He doesn’t think I’m funny, but I think I’m funny,” Judy chuckles. “People who used to only see me sitting in the box at Wimbledon could be forgiven for thinking that I don’t smile, and I’m quite serious and very competitive and all the rest of it.

Judy Murray on Centre Court, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, 2021. Image: Shutterstock.

“And I suppose that was kind of the persona that the media painted of me way back in the early days.

“But I think most people now realise I have got a sense of humour and I’m not above taking the mick out of myself!”

‘So many people believe it’s real’

And though she initially found it difficult to get into the persona of the stern, severe Judy Murray she plays on stage, she’s slipped naturally into the role over time – so much so that people believe ‘Duncan’ really is her son.

“If you look at [Chris], he’s not dissimilar to a mix of Andy and Jamie,” she observes. “And the voice that he’s adopted is quite like Andy’s; slow and little monotone. And that makes it, I think, quite authentic.

Judy in action at the Edinburgh Festival. Image: Andy Laing.

“One guy came up to us when we were at Cromlix [Andy’s hotel] and started talking to Chris as if he was Jamie!” she recalls. “He just went along with it, he didn’t want to burst the guy’s bubble.

“But there are so many people who believe that it’s real. And that worries me because I hope people don’t think I would be so cold to one of my children!”

Judy Murray’s tennis career came from ‘infrastructure of nothing’

As well as golf and comedy, Judy has been foraying into fiction, releasing her debut novel, The Wildcard, earlier this year.

She’s been working tirelessly for the past decade to increase community-level tennis services across the nation, including fighting to build her own tennis centre outside Dunblane, and The Wildcard sees some of those passions translated into the story.

It focuses particularly on “the haves and the have-nots”, which she acknowledges is still a problem in tennis.

Judy Murray has done outreach all over Scotland to get young people involved in tennis. Here she’s pictures at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital physiotherapy department. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

“I was the Scottish number one for many, many years, and that came from an infrastructure of nothing,” explains Judy, an accomplished player in her own right.

“There was no indoor facilities. Nobody aspired to be a great player or a great coach because you couldn’t play all year round.

“So what I’ve been doing for the last eight years is going around the country, trying to show people how to get started in whatever space they have in their local area. Whether that’s the school playground or the artificial grass football pitch, you can put up cones and a bit of barrier tape, and begin.”

‘The world according to women is different’

Judy also wanted to use the novel to highlight the need for more women in the workforce when it comes to sport, particularly to combat instances of “abuse of power in the coach-athlete relationship”.

“I think that really came to light with the situation with the US gymnastics team and the team doctor,” she says.

Judy Murray has spent 35 years in the tennis world – and is now looking beyond the net. Image: Jamie Williamson.

“It wasn’t until many years later, after all the abuse that happened that they felt experienced and strong enough to speak out about it.

“But you know that there had been a cover up at the top.

“So you need female doctors and physios and fitness trainers and psychologists,” she continues.

“You need women there to understand the world according to women, because it’s different from the world according to men.”

Judy Murray: ‘I’m in the last third of my life’

Both the novel and the process of writing it have been, for Judy, about “knowing it’s never too late to follow your dreams”.

She admits that the 1996 Dunblane Primary School massacre, during which her sons Andy and Jamie were at the school, has motivated her to “make the most of life”, as it taught her that “you never know what’s around the corner”.

But ultimately, it’s been entering her golden years which has inspired her to look for new horizons beyond the net.

‘Duncan’ failed to impress Judy again at Glasgow’s Kings Theatre – will he do better in Perth? Image: Iain Murray.

“I think I’m influenced by the fact that I am over 60 and I’m in what Jane Fonda calls the last third of my life,” Judy smiles.

“There are still things that I want to achieve. But also, it’s time for me now.

“I’ve given a lot of time to my sport, 35 years. And now it’s time for the next generation to step up and show some leadership skills.

“They can perhaps do some of the things that that I was doing.

“And maybe just leave me to my golf course!”

The Duncan and Judy Murray Show will be at Perth Concert Hall on October 14 2023.