JUDY Murray has revealed her time on Strictly Come Dancing means she is “no longer just Andy’s mum” and plans to use her new-found confidence to grow tennis in Scotland.
The tennis coach has said the hit BBC show had boosted her self-belief, though the process actually began long before when she was named the Fed Cup captain and son Andy began winning grand slam titles.
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Of being made captain, she said: “It gave me a lot of confidence that somebody gave me a big role because I was a good coach, whereas before so much of it was being Andy and Jamie’s mum, when I had always worked with a lot more kids.”
The other factor was Andy’s triumphs in winning Wimbledon, Olympic gold and the US Open. She said: “There was a time when I was coming in for a lot of criticism and it was from people who didn’t know me, didn’t know anything about me.”
Former Wimbledon champ Boris Becker repeatedly raised the question of whether Andy Murray would ever win a grand slam while his mother was sitting in the stands.
She said: “It irritated me, it was annoying. I didn’t react, I just got on with it but I definitely had the sense there were people out there who thought he wasn’t getting to the very top because of something I’d done, or the way I behaved, or the way I was.
“Those people didn’t realise that over the years I’d hardly go to any tournaments. I only went to the ones where the boys needed the most emotional support and that’s no different to any other parents or families. But it was that female thing, that mum with boys thing.”
The 55-year-old was the seventh person to leave Strictly after landing in the bottom two with professional partner Anton du Beke last month.
Following her exit, she confessed to being the “worst dancer” in the latest series.
Now back in her day job as a tennis coach, she is determined to ensure the opportunity to capitalise on the sport’s current popularity is not missed.
Speaking of her contentious plans to build a tennis centre at Park of Keir, between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, which will include indoor and outdoor courts, she said: “There are so many things we could do but if we don’t do something like that, we could completely miss the boat with all this profile that’s around tennis at the moment.
“There is a huge sense of it with me because I’m out there and I know what’s happening or rather what’s not happening.
“Andy has been in the top five for seven years now and in that whole time we’ve had two new indoor courts. That’s all we’ve had. But I’m only one person, I can only do so much.”
She added: “I just wish people were a bit more ambitious about tennis possibilities.”
Judy is also now working with the Women in Sport charity which aims to increase the number of females who participate. She got involved after someone told her: “When you’ve got a voice you have to be brave enough to use it because you won’t always have one.”
“If you’d ask me to do this, any of this, four or five years ago, I wouldn’t have. Women in Sport and getting kids active and growing the game, those are my things – they’ll keep me busy for a few years until I get my tennis centre.”
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