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Judy Murray on Buble, blubbing, and a burning ambition

Judy Murray greets son Andy after his Wimbledon win
by Caroline Cheese
Sunday 22 June 2014

When Judy Murray talks about being in an "absolute dream" in front of 20,000 people, it's easy to assume she is recalling that heady day on Centre Court a year ago when her youngest son ended Britain's 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men's singles champion.

Not so. It was in fact Canadian crooner Michael Buble that sent Murray's mother into a spin when she went to see him in concert at the O2 Arena just two days after Andy's historic win.

"When he opened the show, he said 'Sadly Andy can't be with us tonight but behind every good man is a good woman, and I've got his mother!'" Judy told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

"My picture was up on all the screens by the side of the stage. I was in an absolute dream, thinking 'I do not believe this is happening.' Twenty thousand people in the O2 and I felt like a complete prat! It was just one of those moments that you never ever would have dreamed would happen to you.

"I mean Michael Buble bowing to you, it doesn't get much better than that."

If pushed, Judy might just concede that watching her sons Andy and Jamie win Wimbledon titles tops a personal shout-out from Michael Buble. Not that she saw much of Andy's moment of glory a year ago.

"I was crying," she said. "I was sitting next to (British Davis Cup captain) Leon Smith... I just turned and put my head on his shoulder and I couldn't look. And Leon was saying to me 'your son's just won Wimbledon, you've got to look!'"

She says watching her sons in action hasn't got any easier over the years and when Andy opens play as defending champion on Centre Court on Monday, she will be as nervous as ever.

"It hasn't got any easier, in fact it's probably got worse as the level of expectation has increased," she said.

"The best I can describe it is a mixture of a heart attack and severe nausea all going on at the same time. But I do try not to show it because your kids do pick up on it."

But if Judy's nerves haven't eased in the last year, a lot of other things have changed for the Murray family. Andy is now one of Britain's most celebrated sportsmen: he is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year; he has been given the Freedom of both Stirling (near his Dunblane hometown) and Merton (where Wimbledon is located); he has an honorary degree from Stirling University; he even owns his own luxury hotel.

For Judy, she has learned over the years how to cope with media attention - often positive, but sometimes less so - and use it to benefit the causes she is passionate about.

"Our lives have had to adapt to everything that's happened," explained Judy. "It's not something I ever imagined would happen to me but you have to learn how to deal with the media.

"I think it's good for the boys to see that I still work hard, I still get out there. I'm trying to take tennis into areas where it currently doesn't exist, give kids the opportunity to try it. What I say to the boys is that you provide the inspiration and I can go out and handle the grassroots side of it and hopefully build on their success."

Since becoming Fed Cup captain in 2011, Judy believes perceptions about her have changed. By proving her tennis credentials on a public stage, she appears to have shed the unwanted 'pushy mum' tag.

"It did bother me, the whole pushy mum thing," she admitted. "I've never been a pushy mum. I've encouraged my kids, supported them, but I've never pushed them to do anything and if you asked either of them, they'd tell you exactly the same.

"But I never rose to any of it, I never spoke out about it. I just thought people who write these things don't know you as a person, don't know anything about your family."

The media gauntlet negotiated, Judy says she has one burning ambition remaining.

"I think what the boys have achieved is amazing," she said. "I have one more goal to achieve and that is to build my own tennis centre, a real community family centre where we can open up the game to many, many more people to come and play but also to pass on everything I've learned over the last 15-20 years and to create a strong coaching workforce for Scotland."

Michael Buble is probably already booked in to open it.

Judy's Desert Island Discs: Killers - Human, Bay City Rollers - Shang-A-Lang, Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run, The Singing Kettle - Jeely Piece Song, Amy MacDonald - Caledonia, Michael Buble - Beautiful Day, Proclaimers - Sunshine on Leith, Beautiful South - Prettiest Eyes. 

Listen to Judy Murray's Desert Island Discs on BBC iPlayer (UK Only)

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