I’m privileged to say I have some great people from the world of sport in my life, from all different areas, commentators, pundits, athletes from many different sports, with Judy Murray being one of them.
Not only was she a great support to me when Elena my wife and I were going through our biggest battle, but also after Elena passed, she was there, unconditionally for me, even making special trips to Ipswich for me personally and for the children of The Elena Baltacha Foundation which she is patron of.
Judy has in the past, wrongly been seen as quite a hard personality, a tough tennis mum, this could not be further from the truth. Being a tennis parent is a very tough gig; after all, it involves the person, or persons, in Judy’s case who mean the most to you. Sport, especially tennis, is one of the most demanding sports, and can take a toll on the athlete’s body and mind, and of course, the parent has to witness. It is no wonder then that Judy would have a very intense look on her face, during the matches of both Andy and Jamie, and this gave a lot of people the wrong impression.
I’m so pleased that through her involvement in Strictly Come Dancing the public have connected with her and have got to know the real Judy Murray, a warm, intelligent lady with a great personality. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting her will tell you this; she gives you her time and makes you feel special.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Judy to attend her first evening on Strictly, what a fantastic experience this was, I used to dance myself, ballroom and Latin, and we are a big dancing family, including a couple of family members who teach internationally. My sister Anna came with me, she teaches and is a massive strictly fan, so you can imagine, she had an unbelievable experience.
It was great to see Judy with all the strictly stars in the teachers and dancers lounge, and the genuinely close relationship that she had developed with her partner Anton Du Beke. In fact, watching Judy interact with all the dancers and celebrities, it was clear that she was genuinely very popular. It goes without saying that my sister made the most of this opportunity and talked too many of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing.
Both Judy and Anton Du Beke entertained the viewers so much and stayed in the competition all the way to the Blackpool Tower special week, impressive achievement for someone who confessed “I am the worst dancer”! Judy would be the first to admit that she is not the best dancer in the world, but she gave it everything, every week, and was massively popular with the watching viewers.
Judy’s sons have achieved much through the tennis world, they are both Grand Slam Champions, including Wimbledon, Andy also a multiple ATP title holder and Olympic Champion. I think Judy has done an incredible job, not only bringing up the boys and guiding them through their early years, but also building the development pathway for Scotland Tennis, which many great tennis players have emerged from, who coincidentally, includes the great Leon Smith, Captain of our World beating Davis Cup Champions.
She then went on to supporting the boys on the professional tour, seeing both the Andy Murray and Jamie Murray achieve incredible successes, and if this was not enough, go on to create programmes and training systems, such as Miss Hits, Tennis on the Road and She Rallies that have had a major effect on girls and women in tennis. Judy has much, much more to offer, it will be very interesting to watch her personal story unfold now.