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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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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