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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Simona Halep moves into the quarter final in Stuttgart

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Number 2 seed Simona Halep beat 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 without facing a break point to cruise into the quarter finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart for the fourth time in her six appearances at this toournament. Halep reached two semifinals in Stuttgart in 2015 and 2017. 

 

Vondrousova came into the match with a 2-0 lead in her head-to-head matches against Halep after her previous two wins over her Romanian player in Indian Wells on hard-court and in Rome on clay. 

Halep hit 22 winners to 13 unforced errors. Vondrousova held her first service game, but Halep broke serve three times to win the first set 6-1. Both players went on serve in the first seven games of the second set. Vondrousova went down 0-40 on return in the eighth game. She saved one break point with an ace, but Vondrousova double faulted on the second break point to drop serve. Halep made a double fault and a forehand error to trail 0-30 at 5-3, but she won the next four points to reach the quarter finals. 

Halep will face either Belinda Bencic or Ekaterina Alexandrova in the quarter final on Friday. 

Former champion Karolina Pliskova came back from one set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 23 minutes. The Czech player has reached her second quarter final of the year. Pliskova fired 21 aces, equalliing her career-best amount in a single match. 

Before this match Pliskova was 3-3 level in her previous six head-to-head matches against Vondrousova, who beat her Czech rival 6-4 6-2 in the second round of Roland Garros last year. Pliskova beat Ostapenko in the quarter final of the 2018 Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix en route to the title. 

Pliskova broke serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-2 lead in the first set. Ostapenko broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4 and fended off three break points at 5-5. 

Ostapenko went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break. Pliskova came back by winning five consecutive points to take a 5-4 lead. Ostapenko saved a set point in the tie-break at 5-6 before winning the tie-break 9-7 on her second set point. 

Pliskova hit three return winners to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game of the second set. Ostepenko fended off set points at 3-5 before breaking back with a return winner in the ninth game for 4-5. Pliskova broke again in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4 after Ostapenko made her eighth double fault. 

Pliskova earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after Ostapenko sent her backhand long. The Czech player hit two double faults serving for the match, but she sealed her first first match point after a wayward forehand from Ostapenko. 

Pliskova set up a quarter final match against world number 1 player and 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty. 

Number 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka beat German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsman 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. The 2021 Abu Dhabi champion hit 34 winners to 20 unforced errors and converted all of her four break points. 

Sabalenka converted her second break point in the third game of the opening set. Friedsam broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Both players went on serve until the ninth game, when Sabalenka got the break in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-4. Sabalenka went up a double break in the first and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his seventh quarter final of the season in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-3 in 84 minutes to secure his spot in the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Tsitsipas has extended his win-loss record to 24-5 in the 2021 ATP Tour season.

 

The first set went on serve with no break points until the 12th game, when De Minaur made his seventh unforced error of the set to give Tsitsipas two set points. De Minaur saved a set point with a drop shot winner. Tsitsipas hit a forehand to get the first break of match on the next point to seal  the first set 7-5.

De Minaur converted his third break point in the first game of the second set and held his serve to take a 2-0 lead. Tsitsipas won five of the next six games with two breaks of serve in the fourth and eighth game to clinch the second set 6-3. 

The young Greek star has reached at least the quarter finals at all seven tournaments he has played in 2021. 

Tsitsipas set up a quarter final against Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-3. Tsitsipas leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime and beat his younger Canadian rival 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the Acapulco quarter final. 

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Andrey Rublev sets up quarter final clash against Jannik Sinner in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Andrey Rublev battled past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 after 2 hours and 27 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

Rublev opened up a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game of the opening set. Ramos Vinolas broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev claimed the first set 6-4 with his second break in the 10th game. 

Ramos Vinolas saved two break points to hold serve after six deuces for 3-3. The next games went on serve en route to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks. 

Rublev went up a 4-2 lead with a break in the fifth game of the third set, but Ramos Vinolas recovered once again by breaking back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev converted his second break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Ramos Vinolas was not able to convert four break points at 4-5 and Rublev closed out the third set with a forehand winner. 

“Nothing has changed. I didn’t learn my lessons. The most important thing is that I managed to win today. When you are not doing something correctly, but you are still winning matches, it gives you confidence. Albert was playing much better than me early in the third set, but you never know which way it will go”, said Rublev.  

Rublev set up a quarter final against Jannik Sinner, who edged past Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 after 1 hor and 52 minutes. Rublev met Sinner only once in the Vienna Round of 16 last year, but the Italian was forced to withdraw from the match withdrew from the match due to a right foot injury.  

Bautista Agut earned his first break in the third game, but Sinner broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Sinner saved a break point in the fifth game to hold serve fo 3-2 at deuce. The world number 19 broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead, but he wasted a set point in the ninth game. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 5-5. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break. 

Sinner saved three set points at 5-6, 7-8 and 8-9 in the tie-break of the first set before winning the tie-break 11-9 on his third set point. 

Sinner earned an early break in the first game and saved a break-back point to open up a 2-0 lead. The Italian player saved three break points to hold his serve in a very long fourth game. The 2019 Sofia Open and Great Ocean Road Open champion went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Sinner has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 against Bautista Agut. Earlier this year the Italian Next Gen player beat his Spanish rival in three sets in the Dubai Round of 16 and in the Miami semifinal.

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