Andy Murray: “There is a big job to make sure more kids are playing tennis”

Wimbledon champ Andy Murray answers the questions you've always wanted to know, like what superpower he'd like to have and what happens when you eat too many bananas...

Andy, we were sent this picture of you with one of our vendors in London [below]. It’s not the first time you’ve been known to buy the magazine. Do you have a local Big Issue vendor?

Unfortunately because I travel so much I don’t spend that much time in the UK, so I don’t really have a local seller. However, I have always been a huge fan of The Big Issue. It plays an incredibly important part in the fight against homelessness – it’s often easy to just give money to people who are homeless, however The Big Issue helps people who are struggling to gain control of their lives and earn a legitimate and sustainable income.

The next few weeks will be the first extended period that you’ll have been able to spend at home since getting married in April this year. Are you looking forward to that as much as the tennis?

Definitely, after the wedding I was only home for about two days before I flew out to Barcelona for the start of my clay court training block, so we didn’t get to see each other much. Kim came out for a few days but it wasn’t quite the honeymoon most couples usually take! My training blocks are pretty intense, with tough sessions and long days, so it’ll be nice to finally spend a few weeks in one place with her and our dogs, Maggie and Rusty. We will get a proper honeymoon at the end of the year though.

I was pretty confident she wasn’t going to leave me standing at the altar

Boris Becker said you have been “playing like a man possessed” recently. Is there any truth in that statement – when things are going well is it impossible to explain why and how that is exactly happening?

No I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. I have always taken pride in the preparation I put into the different slams and this year wasn’t any different. My team and I worked extremely hard in Barcelona, the clay can be one of the toughest surfaces to adjust too, so it’s important you put in the preparation. We tried to cover all bases this year, and I think we did a pretty good job. I always get plenty of confidence from thorough preparation before tournaments.

Andy Murray, Big Issue vendor

Which player from history would you most or least like to have played in their prime?

Amélie! We always joke about who would win if we played in her prime, she thinks she could take me but I’m not so sure! I wouldn’t say there has ever been anyone I wouldn’t want to play in their prime – when you play someone who is playing amazingly well, you raise your level. I used to joke with [Ivan] Lendl about playing him in his prime – I’d want to play that match on grass, though, to give me a good shot!

What did Sir Alex Ferguson tell you when you met him before your triumphant final at the US Open?

I’ve been lucky to have met Sir Alex a few times, he’s come to Wimbledon and the US Open. He’s one of the greatest coaches in history and he’s shared a lot of his wisdom with me over the years, something for which I’m very grateful. When someone like that takes time to speak to you, it’s important you listen. He did say he found watching tennis quite stressful as he had no control over the outcome – not sure if that was tennis in general or just me.

I think some people genuinely think I am Spider-Man

Do you think it will be another 77 years before another British man wins at Wimbledon? Is the game in the UK in a healthy state?

Good question, and I hope not! It’s a tough one for me to comment on as I am out of the country for most of the year, so don’t see a lot of the work that goes into the game in the UK. We are doing very well in the Davis Cup right now – with a quarter-final versus France coming up. And certainly Kyle Edmund is starting to climb the rankings and has the potential to do well. There is still work to be done to find the next up-and-coming players, though. There is a big job to make sure more kids are playing tennis and participation increases year on year. Then at least we’ll have more players coming through. Time will tell though I guess.

When were you most nervous – at match point for the Wimbledon title or on your wedding day?

Wimbledon, for sure. Kim and I had been together for nearly 10 years when we got married, so I was pretty confident she wasn’t going to leave me standing at the altar! Both were amazing days I will never forget though.

You had your wedding reception at Cromlix, the hotel near your hometown of Dunblane, which you own. The motto on Cromlix’s coat of arms reads ‘Renovate Animos’. Was that your idea or did it come with the house?

I think it came with the house, it used to be a family home a long time ago and it was the family motto, we quite liked the meaning behind it so decided to keep it.

It reads a bit odd in English but it translates from Latin as ‘renew your courage’. Is that mindset key to your success?

Tennis can be a difficult sport sometimes, you can fight for hours to win a match and still fall short at the final hurdle. Recovering from your losses is an important part of tennis and being able to ‘renew your courage’ is a perfect way to recover, forget about the loss – learn from it – and look ahead to your next match.

DID YOU KNOW…

The Big Issue magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.

A lot of players listen to music before they go on court. Is that to psyche themselves up or calm themselves down?

I think it differs depending on the person. I know people that use music to get pumped, some to relax and some that use it for both. I personally use it for both but I’m careful not to get too pumped up before a match, as you have to be able to manage your body and energy levels – you could be on court for five hours.

I have always been a huge fan of The Big Issue

Does your pre-match tune change or is it always the same? What is it at the moment?

It changes from time to time, it depends how I’m feeling before my match. It’s been Sia – Chandelier – for a while now, but more often than not a few Ed Sheeran tracks make an appearance on the playlist.

Would you ever go on Strictly?

No!

Which box-set would you take on a desert island – The Office or the collected works of Alan Partridge?

Easy, I’m a huge Ricky Gervais fan so it would have to be The Office.

Do you ever play tennis computer games? Have you ever played any other pros? Do you play as yourself?

We don’t usually play tennis games, we play a lot of Fifa though and there’s quite a lot of rivalry on the tour between a few of us. Nick Kyrgios rates himself quite highly on Fifa. Rafa also plays a bit, as do a few of the other Spanish players, it’s always a laugh and there’s plenty of banter during and after the games.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would love to be able to teleport, I spend so much time travelling so it would be nice to be able to think about where I want to go and then in the next moment be there!

Do you feel some affinity with Spider-Man – or at least ex-Peter Parker Andrew Garfield, who people point out looks like you every time the film is on TV.

A little bit I guess. I always know when it’s on TV because I get a lot of tweets telling me how good I am in it, which is quite funny, especially if you read some of the tweets. I think some people genuinely think I am Spider-Man [laughs].

How many bananas do you go through in a normal week? Bananaman would be a good superhero! Though I don’t remember what his superpower actually was.

Haha, a few. I’ll probably have two to three a day on training days. Some days I can be on court for two or three hours, so it’s important for me to keep my energy levels high. I have no idea either on his superpower.

Finally, everyone at The Big Issue wishes you good luck!

Thank you, fingers crossed for Wimbledon. I’ve had great preparation at Queen’s and plenty of hard work has gone in up to this point – I’ll be giving everything I have.