Judy Murray remembers what it used to be like to watch her sons play tennis against each other: ‘It was usually to make sure they didn’t fight!’
Thankfully, for mum at least, Andy and Jamie rarely stood at opposite ends of the court in competition. Whenever they did as juniors, Judy was too wrapped up trying to organise minibuses full of excitable youngsters to pay too much attention, while once the senior ranks beckoned Jamie became a doubles specialist as Andy preferred to go it alone.
However, sibling rivalry could reignite this week at Wimbledon.
Andy Murray faces the prospect of meeting his brother in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon
Jamie Murray (eight) is the doubles specialist and is on course to meet Andy in round three
Andy returns to SW19 for the first time in two years following surgery on a hip injury that he felt could end his career. He will play in the men’s doubles, partnering Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and an as-yet-decided partner in the mixed. There is a chance it could be seven-times Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
In the men’s, if all goes to plan, a third-round meeting with six-time Grand Slam doubles winner brother Jamie and his partner Neal Skupski is on the horizon.
If that does happen, Judy will not be watching. ‘My biggest fear was that they might draw each other in the first round,’ Judy told Sportsmail.
‘It has been good for family harmony over the years that one has played singles and the other has played doubles. If they play each other I will go to the pub and wait for someone to text me!’
The Murray brothers have only faced each other in competition once before — in the Rogers Cup four years ago in Montreal. Jamie came out on top and Judy admits that is the way she used to prefer it. ‘They were always competitive with each other, in the way siblings are,’ she said.
Andy Murray has battled back from surgery with the support of mum Judy, who is part of Elmlea’s #DoMoreThan Pour campaign
‘Back then, I always wanted Jamie to win because that was the natural order of things. If the younger sibling beats you, that’s much harder to take. Not now, though. I will be completely impartial — I just won’t think about it!’
The fact that Andy is even competing is remarkable enough. It was only January when a tearful Andy feared his career was over at the Australian Open. Five months and a hip-resurfacing operation later and the two-times Wimbledon singles champion made his return to competitive action in the doubles at Queen’s last week. And he won it.
‘It’s great to see him without the limp and without pain, competing, relaxed and fighting,’ said Judy. ‘No one knew what was going to happen after Australia.
‘He said afterwards that it was extra special. It is still very early in his recovery so to come back in his first tournament and win a title was a massive thing and unexpected.’
And there is no better place to play, she says, than Wimbledon. Judy first took them there when they were seven and eight on the train from Dunblane.
‘It was a massive inspiration for them. Jamie wanted to watch matches but Andy just wanted to watch the practice courts and try to get autographs. They started playing in the juniors in 2002 and I’ve been going every year ever since.
‘It is a special place. It just separates itself from other events. The white clothing, the brass band, the Pimm’s, the grass. It is so steeped in tradition. And not to mention the strawberries and Elmlea cream. It is a massive part of British summer time.’
Andy Murray has been all smiles but mum Judy would not be watching if he meets Jamie
Murray finds it difficult to pin down her favourite Wimbledon memory and can you really blame her? There have been so many.
Jamie won the mixed doubles in 2007 aged 21 and he won it again 10 years later. And, of course, when Andy ended the 76-year wait for a British male singles champion in 2013 — and then again in 2015. Yet it is her one of her first recollections, with Andy as a ‘scrawny 18-year-old’, which sticks in her mind.
‘Andy played as a wildcard in 2005 and reached the third round. He played David Nalbandian on Centre Court. I remember taking my seat in the players’ box thinking this is the one I had seen on TV so many times!
‘I had never imagined it. I looked across at the Royal Box and there was Sir Sean Connery — James Bond! — jumping up and down cheering for Andy. I thought, how on earth did this happen?’
If Andy is able to triumph on Centre Court once again this year, after everything he has been through to get there, she will not be alone in asking herself the same question all over again.
Elmlea has partnered with Judy Murray, Jamie Laing and Roman Kemp, to encourage the nation to #DoMoreThanPour this tennis season. Each celebrity has served up their own take on a traditional Strawberries and Cream twist. To vote for your favourite celebrities recipe, check out Elmlea social channels on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.