December 9, 2022
 

Game, set and match

Tennis champ Andy Murray shares travel tips, faves and pet hates in an exclusive interview with Angela Sara West

Andy Murray has our heads turning and hearts racing most summers in SW19. A power force in the game, he’s twice clinched the coveted Wimbledon title, won Olympic Gold medals and become a World No.1.

Most of his practice is at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton but he trains frequently at the All England Club. “Wimbledon is probably the ultimate place to play tennis in the UK, but there’s a court on the Isle of Harris in Scotland, which I think is the most remote tennis court in the world. It looks incredible and I’d love to play there.”

Courted to Surrey, the UK’s most-wooded county scores highly with this sportsman. “Being near Gatwick and Heathrow was a big draw when I moved there because I was travelling up to 40 weeks a year.”

“Travel has pretty much gone back to normal post-Covid and I’m now travelling as much as I did before”

He’s also an avid golfer who’s frequently found practising his swing on Surrey’s fairways. “I play with my brother, Jamie, and I’ve played a few rounds with Tim Henman, too.”

Now Stateside for the tournaments leading up to the US Open, Murray is currently staying in Cincinnati. “I’ve just left Montreal and was in Rhode Island before that,” he says.

“Travel has pretty much gone back to normal post-Covid and I’m now travelling as much as I did before. I tend to travel by Eurostar to Europe if I can. I’ve taken it to Paris, Rotterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, and it’s generally easier and more sustainable.”

Any travel bugbears? “I dislike hotel rooms with street or corridor noise, and getting to the airport early. I’m not very good at leaving enough time at the airport so it can be a bit rushed. I’m used to it now but it’s probably a bit stressful for my travelling companions!”

“I like an aisle seat, so I can easily get up and about and stretch the legs”

As for airlines? “I tend to switch around between airlines because I fly so much. I like an aisle seat, so I can easily get up and about and stretch the legs.”

Murray sticks to drinking water in-flight. “I’m partial to a Coca-Cola from time-to-time, and maybe a glass of Champagne after a good trip with a few wins!”

His top travel tip? “Sleep as much as you can, whenever you can. It’s the only way to get over jetlag quickly.”

And what about packing? “I take around 10 rackets in my bag per tournament and, depending on the surface and whether it’s a Grand Slam or an ATP tournament, around three pairs of shoes. Thankfully, I’ve never lost a bag, although I’ve sometimes arrived before it!”

Fave destinations? “I always love going to Australia. Playing the Australian Open at the start of the year gives me the opportunity to escape a big chunk of the British winter and I love Melbourne and the lifestyle there. Rome is also a great city, as is Shanghai. They are so vibrant in very different ways.

“I’m always really well received in Asia and, obviously, the crowd in Glasgow is usually pretty warm (and noisy!)”

“Thankfully, I’ve never lost a bag, although I’ve sometimes arrived before it!”

Standout trips include swimming with sharks and rays in the Maldives. “But on a completely different level, I got to go to the White House one year, which was amazing. I was lucky enough to get a VIP tour. It was pretty surreal walking the same corridors as the Presidents of the United States.”

Still on his bucket list? “I’d love to do a bit more of Africa because it’s somewhere I don’t get to travel to on the tennis tour. And then two places I really enjoyed visiting for the Olympics – Rio and Tokyo – I’d love to go back to and explore properly.

“the world is a special place, and we must do everything we can to look after it”

“We went to Disney this year, which was a real highlight. It was such a different trip for me and we really embraced all the activities. I spent quite a lot of time wearing Micky Mouse ears, so that was lots of fun, for my kids anyway!”

Reinventing the glorious era of grand country house living, the Scot has turned the Victorian Perthshire mansion into a five-star destination. “It’s a bit of a home-away-from-home, a very warm and inviting place to stay. It’s where Kim and I got married. The scenery is beautiful, there’s a tennis court (of course!), a private loch for fishing, and the kids love feeding the chickens in the kitchen garden.”

A return to his roots saw the sports legend purchase and refurbish a property close to his heart to save it from closure. “Cromlix is a very special place to me. It’s three miles from Dunblane, where I grew up, so I love going back there whenever I can.”

So, finally, what has travelling taught him? “That the world is a special place, and we must do everything we can to look after it.”

Andy Murray juggles many balls and successful business ventures, including 77 Sports Management. He has teamed up with his brother Jamie, British tennis coach Jamie Delgado and Game4Padel to promote the racket sport padel. The creative player also boasts a high-flying clothing collection. The official clothing brand of the LTA and Tennis Scotland, AMC is an eco-friendly, high-performance tennis clothing line with Castore. He also owns Cromlix Hotel.

andymurray.com