By: Mark Hodgkinson
1 Andy Murray sometimes eats up to four Feast ice-creams a day (though only when at home between tournaments — and not when preparing for Wimbledon). “I can eat ice-cream from midday until I go to bed.”
2 He says: “I’m not one of those sportsmen who practises a strict policy of sexual abstinence before playing. Tennis is not like boxing. I remember a former world heavyweight whose trainer banned him from having sex for the six weeks before a fight. In tennis we play every week, so with a boxer’s mentality, we’d always be saying ‘no’.”
3 Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl, tells some of the dirtiest jokes in tennis, and has been described as “an equal opportunities offender”, whose locker-room gags were said by John McEnroe to be “dubious at best”. However, Lendl revealed: “Andy’s sense of humour is almost as sick as mine.”
4 Murray’s obsession with go-karting is such that he has his own racing shoes and helmet, which has The Stig written on the back.
5 The British No1’s coach also believes that smiling is “over‑rated”.
6 Before a teenage Murray travelled to Barcelona to train at an academy, his father Willie gave him this advice: “Don’t take s**t from anyone.”
7 As tennis is a “diagonal sport”, Murray’s body is not totally in balance; he has a weaker left shoulder, because it is never worked as hard as the right. His left leg is a little stronger than his right.
8 Time magazine once described Murray’s game as “a concerto of arrhythmic disharmony”.
9 Murray’s middle name, Barron, translates from Old English as “young warrior”.
10 For a few days after winning Olympic gold last summer, Murray was unable to sleep properly.
11 Though Murray’s girlfriend, Kim Sears, was “left cold” by Fifty Shades of Grey, the sadomasochistic bestseller by E.L. James, she’s such a fan of Jilly Cooper’s bonkbusters that she had to buy a second copy of Polo — she had read the first one so many times that the pages were falling out.
12 Murray would be upset “if the people around me started telling me that I had begun changing, being an a**e, or something”.
13 Though he loves boxing, Murray has never punched anyone in the face.
14 During the English grass-court swing, Murray and his team have been known to bet among themselves on how long it will be before some wag in the crowd hilariously calls out: “C’mon Tim.”
15 ‘Jelly’ was trending on Twitter last September after Andy Murray raged at himself during the US Open Final against Novak Djokovic. His chuntering included, “Take your time, you d**k,” “f**k, man, f**k”, and “My f*****g legs feel like jelly now.”
16 Murray often has osmorality checks to ensure that he is properly hydrated for matches — with the right percentages of water and minerals in his urine.
17 When Murray won the US Open junior title in 2004 he dedicated his victory to the victims of the terrorist attack at a school in Beslan in Russia that year, as well as to the victims of the shooting at Dunblane primary school in 1996. “I found it hard to watch those children coming out of the Russian school. I watched it on television and felt so much sorrow for them.”
18 Just days after losing last summer’s Wimbledon Final to Roger Federer, Murray accepted an invitation to sit in the studio audience for Mock the Week. “The three most emotional things I’ve ever seen on television,” said comedian Andy Parsons, “are Terms of Endearment, Philadelphia and Andy Murray trying so hard in his speech not to call Roger Federer a bastard.”
19 Murray’s manager, Simon Fuller, was once named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
20 When Fuller visited Murray’s home for the first time, the Scot made it plain that he didn’t care for empty celebrity, and certainly didn’t want anyone to think he was “a fake”.
21 He is the Jay-Z of the men’s locker-room. For a sample of Murray’s work, listen to the album produced by the world’s leading doubles team, American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, and you will hear him, er, rapping about signing autographs: “During Wimbledon it gets really crazy. My hand cramps up and my mind gets hazy. I sign and I sign but the line doesn’t end. Wake me up and let’s do it tomorrow. Autograph.”
22 A former coach, Brad Gilbert, suggested to teetotal Murray — “the only Scottish guy ever who doesn’t drink” — he should let off steam by sky-diving, bungee-jumping or stripping in public.
23 As a boy, Murray spent his pocket-money on Bond films as a local shop did a two-for-one offer — his favourite was Goldfinger.
24 Murray’s physiotherapist, Andy Ireland, believes in aliens.
25 While walking through the All England Club, Murray once heard a woman hissing into her mobile telephone: “There goes that Scottish w****r.” He has also had letters delivered to his Wimbledon locker informing him: “I hope you lose every match for the rest of your life.”
26 The only time Murray ever felt nervous before a practice session was when he was given the opportunity at Queen’s Club in 2006 to practise with his boyhood idol Andre Agassi — Murray had sweaty hands and forgot his water bottle.
27 When Murray started playing on the Tour, he often felt lonely and isolated, as “I love company, I love being around a lot of people”.
28 When Murray was seven, he spent eight pounds at a local market on what he felt was a tribute to Agassi’s ‘hot lava’ look —Murray bought some cut-off denim shorts, neon pink and purple cycling shorts, and a baseball cap with a long blond ponytail clipped to the back.
29 Though the only book Murray has completed was a wrestler’s autobiography, he is familiar with a certain William Shakespeare — he read some lines to girlfriend Kim to help her learn her part for a stage production.
30 When the alarm went off at 2.30am in his home in Oxshott, Murray ran downstairs with a racket to use as a weapon against the intruder. He felt considerable relief when he realised that there wasn’t a burglar, just a faulty alarm system.
31 The Sun once tried to claim Murray for the Home Counties, printing ‘Come on Surrey’ headlines during that summer’s Wimbledon fortnight.
32 Murray sold his red Ferrari as he felt like a complete prat in it. “I’m quite a conservative driver, but when I was driving that, I would get beeped just for getting out of the car.”
33 The day after winning the US Open, a party was thrown in his honour at the British Consul-General’s residence in Manhattan, with the champion presented with a hamper filled with British junk-food: Hob‑Nobs, salt-and-vinegar Hula Hoops, Wine Gums and Maltesers, and bottles of Irn-Bru.
34 One of Murray’s celebrity supporters is the Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who tweeted this after his fellow Scot had beaten Roger Federer in the Olympic Final: “After winning hearts with his bubbling magnanimity, I’d like to see Andy mix it up with a bitter, surly victory speech.”
35 Murray once loaded so many Milky Way cake bars into his supermarket trolley, the lady at the checkout said: “Do you think these are on special offer or something?” Girlfriend Kim replied: “No, he just likes them a lot.”
36 As Murray was born with a bipartite patella, or split kneecap, he has required pain-killing injections and pills just to get him out on court.
37 His mother, Judy, has received hate mail telling her what a terrible person she is and how awful she is. They find her cries of ‘c’monnnnnn’, or how she bares her teeth, shakes her fist or otherwise encourages her youngest son when he is playing tennis, nothing less than repellent.
38 As a young boy, Murray and his family would listen to cassettes of Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines as they drove to tournaments. He has said the Scottish comedian taught him how to swear.
39 Though Murray made an informed choice when voting in the 2010 General Election, he wouldn’t disclose whose name he had put a cross against.
40 Like fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson, Murray refused to speak to the BBC because he felt they had taken his remarks about match-fixing out of context.
41 When Murray played tennis with David Cameron in the State Dining Room at 10 Downing Street, he admits he was “scared” about breaking the chandeliers.
42 Some Americans were extremely disappointed with Murray’s low-key reaction — crouching and covering his hand with his mouth — after winning the US Open. “The ending was poor television,” The New Yorker magazine noted. “When it was over it seemed as if the sensational play on the court had sapped away whatever energy there might be around it. Djokovic did not seem all that dejected, and Murray did not seem all that excited.”
43 After “going through” his parents’ divorce, Murray has resolved to “work hard at having a successful relationship”.
44 He recently bought a hotel, Cromlix House in Dunblane, where his brother Jamie was married.
45 Before winning the US Open, Murray used to worry about how becoming a Grand Slam champion could transform his life. Relax, Lendl told him, pretty much all that happens when you win a major is that you are offered the best tables in restaurants and free rounds of golf. The coach was lying, of course.
46 Murray believes there is “a fear of emotion in tennis”. “It wouldn’t make me feel good to bottle up my emotions,” he said. “Saying nothing and standing there makes me feel flat. If someone in the crowd boos, everyone looks at them as if to ask, ‘What the hell are you doing?’”
47 Murray admits his voice is a bit boring.
48 Speaking of which, Murray has never chased popularity. He has politely declined, as one observer put it, “the role of darling to the middle classes and corporate lunch-munchers”.
49 The only time Murray has been ill from alcohol was when he was 16. He vomited outside a nightclub and “tried to catch it in my hands — it went down my arms and legs and splashed on my shoes. Unbelievably, they let me in, but I can only imagine I wasn’t a popular clubber that night”.
50 Murray almost missed the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year show — where he was given an award for young sportsman of the year — after he inadvertently locked himself in a hotel loo.
Andy Murray: Champion by Mark Hodgkinson