Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s mother says she has been dubbed a pushy parent because she is a woman and hit back after Boris Becker suggested the Scottish player would be better off without her.
Judy Murray, 54, said if she had been the father instead of the mother of two prominent tennis players, her appearance at tennis matches would not have engendered such a negative response.
She said: “I think if I were the dad of sons, I wouldn’t have been noticed.”
The tennis coach, whose older son Jamie won the Wimbledon mixed doubles in 2007, said that she had been deemed “the worst thing since sliced bread”.
She said: “There’s something about a competitive mum, especially when the children are male. Boris Becker had a go at me a couple of years ago, saying Andy wouldn’t win a slam until he got rid of me.
“I thought: ‘I’ve never met you. You don’t know Andy. You don’t know anything about us’.
“But because Boris was saying it, I thought people would think, ‘She must be an absolute nightmare’.”
In 2011, before Murray won the US Open and Wimbledon, Becker questioned whether the Scottish player should distance himself from his mother in order to win a grand slam.
“Is it the right decision for his mother and the whole team to be around? Maybe he needs someone around who has won a grand slam,” the three-times Wimbledon champion was quoted as saying.
She said of her pushy parent reputation: “I have my own life and I’m always busy. If I want to see my children, watching them play is often the easiest way.
“I don’t smile when I watch Andy because I’m totally focused. If he looks up, he doesn’t want to see me laughing. But if you ask anyone else I work with, I love having fun.”
She praised her son’s new coach, 2006 Wimbledon ladies’ champion Amelie Mauresmo,, and was effusive about another woman in Murray’s life – his girlfriend Kim Sears.
“She’s fabulous,” she said of Sears. “I tell Andy how lucky he is. She makes amazing red velvet cupcakes. I’m serious about cake. A Victoria sponge with jam in the middle and icing on top is heaven.”
The Great Britain Federation Cup captain, who is launching a project to get young girls into tennis, said of her previous role as her son’s coach: “In my case I always recognised my limitations and wanted to find the right person to work with Andy at the right time. That was what mattered. His new choice is great.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Jamie Murray said last night that their mother had been a key shaping influence on both men.
He said: “All through our careers she has been there for us when we needed her, not as much now obviously as we are grown up and fend for ourselves a bit.
“You can have all the knowledge in the world but if you can’t communicate that, then it is wasted, and I think she is a great communicator.
“I think all the people who have worked with her would tell you that; that’s probably her greatest asset.
He added that “it was not a big deal” for Murray to have a female coach, as “for most of his life that’s what he’s had”.
The pair’s mother said that she only gets “emotional” about her sons’ wins at Wimbledon when she is in her home town of Dunblane.
“If I give a little speech at a kids’ tournament or something, I find it very emotional. I did one the other day and I was really struggling,” she said.
“When you’ve gone through a really dark, tragic time, and then come to a real high, I hope it helps people to feel something really positive about the town.”