Gran Slam: Grandmother tells of Andy Murray pride
In a touching interview, Shirley Erskine, 79, has spoken of her pride in her famous grandson, and how he is setting his sights on Wimbledon once more this summer.
“Wimbledon is the one thing I’d have to say he wanted most now,” she said. “He’d really like to add that to his collection. And the pressure must be off him. The pressure’s off Britain as well.”
It is still uncertain if the 26-year-old Scot will compete in this year’s French Open, which begins on Sunday.
He retired from his second-round match at the Italian Open last week with a back injury, and mother Judy has said fitness for Wimbledon remains his priority.
Mrs Erskine, who lives in Dunblane with husband Roy, told Reader’s Digest how Murray was given a hero’s welcome in his home town as returning US Open champion last year, where he “shook thousands of hands, signed hundreds of autographs”.
“I said to him, ‘How do you feel about today?’ He said: ‘Do you think there’ll be a lot of people?’
“I laughed – ‘I think you might be quite surprised, Andy’.”
More than 16,000 well-wishers took to the street to celebrate his return, some of whom came bearing unusual gifts.
Mrs Erskine said: “Judy had invited as many of his old school friends as she could. One of them works in our local butcher’s and he brought – would you believe – two packets of sausages for Andy. [They were] made up in sets of five, not six, because Andy had won the US Open in five sets.”
Murray’s unswerving dedication to getting to the top of his game is aided by his lack of interest in courting fame, his grandmother believes.
“He’s always been very unassuming. He’s never looked for fame or fortune or anything like that. He just single-mindedly wanted to be the best,” she said.
“The fact that he’s got money doesn’t bother him, and he certainly doesn’t court celebrity.” Murray’s long-term relationship with Kim Sears, 25, has also been a calming and supportive influence on the player.
Mrs Erskine added: “Their relationship has stood the test of time and she’s a lovely girl. She really is. She keeps herself quiet in the background but is tremendously supportive.”
Though Mrs Erskine would not be swayed as to whether Murray was planning on popping the question any time soon, she admitted the pair’s relationship was only going one way.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” she said. “When Andy’s home, he just loves to have a quiet time with her and the dogs, Maggie and Rusty.”
Murray and Sears’ border terrier Maggie has gained international fame of her own through her Twitter account, which she uses to update fans of her adventures.
A recent photograph posted by Sears showed Maggie proudly perching on top of the pillar box which was painted gold to honour Murray’s gold medal at last year’s Olympic Games.
That particular post box has a special resonance for the famously temperamental Olympian, said Mrs Erskine.
“He came here for breakfast just before his homecoming walkabout. We gave him a special gift from our local silversmith – a miniature version of the post box that was painted gold in his honour.
“We had it engraved: ‘You’re awesome. We’re so proud of you’. He was quite overcome.”
The full interview is in June’s edition of Reader’s Digest.