Review: Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet

Andy Murray: British number one, world number two, grand slam champion, twenty-seven singles titles to his name, Olympian gold medallist, dog-lover, Dunblane survivor, brother, son, boyfriend. In this BBC documentary that goes behind Andy’s infamous racquet, we see not only the loved (and not so loved) public Andy Murray, but, as Sue Barker rightly says, the other Andy Murray too.

Bursting into the limelight as a junior US Open champion, Andy shot to fame. Now 26, Andy is no longer a scrawny, moody, teenager. In the run up to Wimbledon 2013, following the victory that came so close in 2012, the anticipation hanging over this notorious scot is no light load. Seeing behind the excruciatingly tense and excitable court drama that has characterised Murray in juxtaposition to his shy camera appearance, The Man Behind the Racquet goes indeed behind the closed doors of the locker room, his home, his school. At home with girlfriend Kim, dogs Maggie May and Rusty, it appears there is a lot about Andy that is shaded by the strings.

This delve into the sporting superstar’s ‘backstage’ life however, is not riddled with gossip stories of his private affairs, nor is it a dull overview of his sporting achievements. Through interviews with mother Judy, brother Jamie (also a tennis champion in the doubles circles) and oh-so-sweet grandparents Roy and Shirley Erskine, it seems that what is behind Andy’s racquet is not all that dissimilar to any other high achieving professional: hard work, bursts of success, quality time with close family and friends, and ultimately a horrifyingly strict regime. Testifying to Andy’s character are friends James Corden, Kevin Spacey, and Sir Alex Ferguson; it is clear that although the Brits may be a tough crowd to please, Andy is not short of support nor friends. Although I was already won over to Team Murray many years ago, the BBC certainly delivered, living up to their claim to show the other Andy, in a less bright, harsh, spotlight. Following the on court emotion from last year’s Wimbledon final, the tears continue off court in this documentary, revealing that Andy truly deserves the credit he’s due, for behind that racquet is neither a glamorous nor grumpy superstar, but the blood, sweat, and tears (and quite a few at that) of an astonishingly devoted and driven sportsman.

With Wimbledon well under way, and already a few upsets among the shifting top seeded players, all eyes are on Andy. And, as Sue Barker quite rightly says, 2013, the wonder year plus one, can, will Andy do it. I certainly hope so.



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