Former World No. 1 Andy Murray joined legend Billie Jean King and CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour for a special interview Friday to discuss life under lockdown, gender equality in tennis and the future of the sport. He was put on the spot, but not for the reason you’d expect.
Amanpour asked Murray about a social media post he made last month in a kilt, which he was told to wear by his two daughters, aged four and two.
“They won that argument. They win most arguments with me, my daughters,” Murray said. “They’ve already got me wrapped around their fingers, so it’s fun. They are the sort of things that you get up to as a dad when you’re at home… when I did put it on they just said, ‘Oh Daddy, you look silly. Take it off.’”
Murray explained to Amanpour and King what spurred him into his constant support of female players and women overall, pointing to when he was coached by former World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo.
“When I came up onto the Tour, I never saw any female coaches around. It was not something, to be honest, something that I’d thought about doing. I’d just seen male coaches on the Tour and just assumed that I also should have a male coach… [Darren Cahill] suggested, ‘Why not look at a female coach?’ When he said it I thought, ‘Of course, why not?’” Murray recalled. “I was coached by my mum when I was young and I had a very good relationship with [former pro] Olga Morozova… she took me on a few trips when I was very young and I always got on very well with her too. When I did then employ a female coach, I realised this isn’t how it normally is.
“Every time I lost a match, my coach was getting blamed for it and I never had that with any of my previous coaches and Amelie Mauresmo was a former World No. 1, a Grand Slam champion, fantastic player, extremely qualified to coach. That was when I realised this was a problem and you start to see it more and more and that was when I started to talk to my mom a little bit more about it… I started to take more of an interest in it and see that it was an issue that needed to be resolved within the start and that was really where it started for me.”
Murray has not played a match since November, and he’s unsure how the current suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic will affect his game. However, he has been using a bike at home and training with some weights to stay fit.
Murray underwent hip surgery last January, returning to action on the doubles court in June. He made his singles comeback in August, winning an ATP Tour title in Antwerp in October.
“I haven’t played a match for six months and I haven’t actually hit a tennis ball for the past six weeks. I’ve been at home. But I have no idea, really, and I don’t think many of the players do know how it will affect them,” Murray said. “I’ve tried to use this time to get myself in the best shape possible to try and get my hip stronger… I’m trying to give that more of a chance to heal, but also to get stronger as well. I’m physically in really good shape… I’m just trying to get myself in really good shape so when we do get the opportunity to play again, my body is ready.”