Andy Murray Opens Up On How The Dunblane Massacre Affected His Childhood - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Opens Up On How The Dunblane Massacre Affected His Childhood

The former world No.1 has shed light on a dramatic event in his life that he rarely talks about.

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Andy Murray at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray has said tennis helped him deal with ‘anxiety’ as a child following the aftermath of the deadliest school shooting in British history.

 

Murray, who is now 32, narrowly escaped the Dunblane massacre along with his brother. On 13 March 1996 16 children and their teacher were murdered when gunman Thomas Hamilton broke into the gymnasium of Dunblane primary school. He was armed with four shotguns and shot at a class of five- and six-year-olds. Murray was at the school at the same time the incident happened.

In the past, Murray has rarely spoken in detail about the events that took place. However, he has in an upcoming documentary on his recovery from a serious hip injury. Andy Murray: Resurfacing will be released on Friday 29 November on Amazon Prime.

“You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me,” he said. “Obviously I had the thing that happened at Dunblane. When I was around nine. I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons.
“The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things.
“Within 12 months of that happening, our parents got divorced. It was a difficult time that for kids. To see that and not quite understand what is going on.”

It was tennis that would be Murray’s escape following the Dunblane massacre, which remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history. The sport helped him overcome anxiety as a child.

“And then six to 12 months after that, my brother also moved away from home. He went away to train to play tennis. We obviously used to do everything together. When he moved away that was also quite hard for me.” Murray reflected.
“Around that time and after that, for a year or so, I had lots of anxiety but that came out when I was playing tennis. When I was competing I would get really bad breathing problems. My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways.
“Because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up. I don’t know because we don’t talk about these things. They are not things that are discussed.
“The way that I am, on the tennis court, I show some positive things about my personality and I also show the bad things and things I really hate. Tennis allows me to be that child, that has all of these questions and that’s why tennis is important to me.”

Retirement was recently on the table

Murray’s upcoming documentary focuses mainly on his recovery from two hip operations. 2019 has been a roller-coaster season for the Brit. During the Australian Open, he said he may be forced to retire from the sport due to ongoing problems with his hip. However, his career was revived by a second operation he underwent which was hip resurfacing surgery. A procedure that involves placing a metal rod into the joint.

Whilst it looked on the court that Murray was gaining momentum on the court during the summer, he reveals that he was still contemplating retirement if he was unable to reach the level he wanted. It wasn’t until the Asian swing in September where he started to realise that he wasn’t finished in the sport yet.

“Asia was basically where I started to realise I can do this because at the beginning of that trip, literally two or three days before the first tournament in Asia, I was having conversations with my team.” He told reporters on Monday evening.
“I was practising and I was like ‘no, I am giving this until the end of the year and if I’m not winning matches and feeling better than I am now, I don’t want to keep going.’
“I was putting a lot of effort in but my movement wasn’t at the right level, but as I started to play quite a few matches it changed quite quickly and I thought I was a lot further away than I was and that was what a lot of guys in the team were saying to me.
“They were saying ‘you are much closer than you think’ and I won a few matches, started to feel better and maybe as well I gained more confidence in my hip. I stopped thinking about it in matches – which was quite a big step.”

The pinnacle of his comeback occurred at the European Open in Antwerp. Entering the tournament with the use of a protected ranking, the Brit stunned the field by winning the tournament. Defeating fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the final. The victory was Murray’s first ATP title since the 2017 Dubai Tennis Championships.

With his head back in the game, Murray said he is ahead of where he expects to be in regards to his hip. Hoping that there will be no more talk of quitting tennis anytime soon.

“It depends how long the hip lasts basically. I could have other injuries on top of that as well. If I am healthy, I’d love to play for as long as I can.” He concluded.

Murray is currently ranked 126th in the world.

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Jannik Sinner and Roberto Bautista Agut start their campaign with convincing wins in Berlin

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Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat German veteran Tommy Haas 6-4 3-6 10-8 in the opening match at the Bett1 Aces, a grass exhibition tournament at the Steffi Graf Stadium. This event features ATP and WTA players and is played in front of a limited number of fans.

 

Sinner converted his only break point in the fifth game of the first set with two return winners and held on his service games to win the first set 6-4. Sinner converted his third break point to take a 3-2 lead in the first set. Haas broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. The German player broke for the second time in a row and won 12 of his 16 rallies to win the second set 6-3. Sinner bounced back in the match tie-break and raced out to a 5-2 lead. Haas clawed his way back to 7-8, but Sinner earned two match points with a forehand passing shot. The young Italian player sealed the match tie-break 10-8 on his second match point setting up a semifinal against Dominic Thiem.

Roberto Bautista Agut battled past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 3-6 10-7. In the first set Bautista dropped his serve to go down 0-2 in the opening game and faced two break points on his serve, but he came back by breaking serve twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-3.

Struff won the second set with a break in the sixth game, but Bautista Agut took the 10-7 edge to win the match tie-break 10-7. Bautista Agut set up a semifinal against Matteo Berrettini.

Anastasja Sevastova was leading 6-4 4-3, as Julia Goerges was forced to retire injured from the match in the seventh game of the second set.  Sevastova got two breaks in the third and ninth games to win the first set 6-3.

In the final match of the day two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova cruised past Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-1. Kvitova earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Petkovic broke straight back in the fifth game for 2-3. Kvitova converted his second break point in the 10th game to win the second set 6-4. Kvitova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1.

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Jannik Sinner dreams to win the US Open and beat Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion Jannik Sinner revealed that his dream would be to beat 20-time Grand Slam champion and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer on the Centre Court at the All England Club at Wimbledon.

 

Sinner was bidding to make his debut at Wimbledon last year, but he lost in the first round of the qualifying round.

Many fans predict that Sinner has the chance to win a Grand Slam title and become world number 1.

Sinner advanced to Antwerp ATP 250 semifinals last October at the age of 18 after beating Gael Monfils. He became the youngest ATP Tour semifinal since Borna Coric, who reached this stage in Basel at the age of 17. He saved one match point against Steve Johnson in Masters 1000 debut in Rome. He got through to the qualifying round to reach the main draw at the US Open before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

This year Sinner beat world number 10 David Goffin in Rotterdam second round for the biggest win of his career. The Italian teenager coached by Riccardo Piatti earned his first Grand Slam main draw win at the Australian Open before losing to Marton Fucsovics.

“I know that I am only 18, but I like to play. The more I play, the more I like it. My goal is to win the US Open but I have the dream of beating Roger Federer on the Centre Court at Wimbledon”, said Sinner.

Federer underwent second arthostocopic knee surgery and announced that he will make his comeback in 2021. The Swiss player was sidelined by injury for six months in 2016 and made a successful return in January 2017 by winning an epic five-set Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. He went on to win Wimbledon later that year and another Australian Open trophy in 2018.

“I hope Roger will play again next season”, said Sinner.

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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