Andy Murray lifts lid on ‘anxiety’ from Dunblane massacre in revealing new documentary

Murray spoke openly during the documentary (Picture: Getty)

Andy Murray will watch a documentary about his recovery from the hip injury that has plagued his career in recent years for the first time on Monday night – a film that contains a “confessional” about how he channels ‘anxiety’ of traumatic childhood experiences through tennis.

Murray rarely broaches the subject of the Dunblane massacre – the deadliest shooting in British history at Dunblane primary school that saw 16 children and a teacher murdered by Thomas Hamilton, who then shot himself – during which he and his brother Jamie were present on 13 March, 1996.

But in a revealing documentary on Amazon Prime Video, which will be released on Friday 29 November, Murray delivers a voice note to documentary maker Olivia Cappuccini from Miami in December, 2018 explaining how tennis became a release as he dealt with the shooting and his parents’ divorce.

A documentary will be released on Friday (Picture: Getty)

‘You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me,’ Murray’s voice can be heard saying with white words running across a black screen.

‘Obviously I had the thing that happened at Dunblane. When I was around nine. I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons.

‘The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things. Within 12 months of that happening, our parents got divorced. It was a difficult time that for kids. To see that and not quite understand what is going on.’

With his voice quivering, he adds: ‘And then six to 12 months after that, my brother also moved away from home. He went away to train to play tennis. We obviously used to do everything together. When he moved away that was also quite hard for me.

‘Around that time and after that, for a year or so, I had lots of anxiety but that came out when I was playing tennis. When I was competing I would get really bad breathing problems. My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways.

‘Because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up. I don’t know because we don’t talk about these things. They are not things that are discussed.

Murray’s voice cracked when he discussed his brother Jamie moving away (Picture: AFP/Getty)

‘The way that I am, on the tennis court, I show some positive things about my personality and I also show the bad things and things I really hate. Tennis allows me to be that child, that has all of these questions and that’s why tennis is important to me.’

Speaking about the moment ahead of Monday night’s premiere in London, Murray gave an insight into how he only became comfortable speaking to Cappuccini – who is the fiancee of Murray’s wife Kim’s brother – on the subject as the process went on.

‘I obviously spent a lot of time with the lady who was filming it,’ he told a small group of journalists on Monday. ‘You were getting asked a lot of questions all the time.

‘We were travelling together for quite a while, spending weeks on end together, and I was getting asked questions like “Why is tennis important, why is it important to you”… at the beginning, I was like: Well, it is. It’s important to me. I know I am very fortunate I get to play, and very lucky that this is what I get to do for my living.

‘It’s important for me for other reasons. And I don’t want to talk to you about it. Maybe I will tell you later on. I don’t want to discuss it and then as things were getting worse and stuff, I started to look like it coming towards the end of playing.

‘I was trying to explain why this was so difficult for me. It wasn’t like in December 2018 when I was in Miami and I had spoken with my team about it. I cannot play anymore. I don’t want to play anymore, I am not enjoying this. I can’t keep doing it.

‘I guess she was trying to understand why. She was there with us in Miami and I was like: “Look, I am not talking to you about this to your face.” One, I feel a bit embarrassed about it. And two I have not really spoken to anyone that much about it ever. So, that was kind of how that came about it.’

He added: ‘It’s not something I think about like on a daily basis. If I look back to when I was younger and stuff, when I moved over to Barcelona. When I was 15, I loved it. It was the happiest I had been. I loved being out there.

‘Which I think a lot of kids, I know certainly from my parents it must be very difficult to allow me and my brother to go and live abroad to pursue our dreams and stuff. But also for a lot of kids, and I know, when I was 15, going to a country where you didn’t know anyone, a completely different environment, it would also be quite intimidating.

‘I felt like freedom when I was there for the first time. And I absolutely loved it out there. It was maybe there when I realised this was starting afresh when I moved over there.’

Cappuccini expressed her surprise that Murray had brought it up of his own accord.

‘I never actually brought it up,’ she said on Monday. ‘It was completely from him. Why would you? I’m making a film about someone who is rehabbing and that’s buried deep in a space in his heart and mind, there’s no need for it.

Murray spoke openly during the documentary (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘But I think at the time where he’s wrestling with his identity and the prospect of it all being over and what tennis meant for him… it came out. You [John Battsek, the producer] used a lovely word for it, a “confessional”, when he went into that which I hope was quite cathartic for him in the moment and I hope did him some good getting it off his chest.’

The documentary, which follows Murray and his team around from January 2018 until this summer, gives an overview of the struggles faced by the former world No. 1.

Murray’s dry sense of humour is laid bare – and he is even caught watching risque comedy “The Inbetweeners” before his  – while there are appearances from his great rivals Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as well as former coaches Ivan Lendl and Amelie Mauresmo – interviews that Murray helped to set up for Cappuccini.

There’s also astonishing footage of Murray’s hip resurfacing operation, which is a rather graphic watch – not one for the squeamish!


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