I can hear you now “What’s Claire doing reading this?” and six months ago, I’d be inclined to agree. But last December, my lovely husband was invited on a corporate day out to Edinburgh and the guest speaker was Judy Murray. Not only that, he got to sit next to the lady in question during the meal and all attendees got a copy of Knowing The Score. It wasn’t until he got home and was telling me about what they’d chatted about that my interest was piqued. And yes it’s taken me this long to read it but we are looking the outdoor tennis season in the face with The French Open, Queen’s and Wimbledon looming in the coming weeks.
It was the day I put the tennis balls into the tumble dryer that I realised I thought about tennis a little bit differently.
What happens when you find you have exceptional children?
Do you panic? Put your head in the sand? Or risk everything and jump in head first?
As mother to tennis champions Jamie and Andy Murray, Scottish National Coach, coach of the Fed Cup, and general all-round can-do woman of wonder, Judy Murray is the ultimate role model for believing in yourself and reaching out to ambition. As a parent, coach, leader, she is an inspiration who has revolutionised British tennis.
From the soggy community courts of Dunblane to the white heat of Centre Court at Wimbledon, Judy Murray’s extraordinary memoir charts the challenges she has faced, from desperate finances and growing pains to entrenched sexism.
We all need a story of ‘yes we can’ to make us believe great things are possible. This is that story.
What Did I Think?
So this is the story of the woman behind Andy and Jamie Murray. To me (before I read this), that’s all she was. I didn’t know anything other than seeing her courtside watching her sons playing competitive tennis. The more I read, the more I came to realise she’s not just a supportive mum who wore a poker face courtside.
Obviously the book starts at the beginning where Mrs Murray talks about her childhood with her tennis loving mother and sporty father. She grew up with tennis in her life and she played tennis through her childhood and teenage years becoming Scotland number 1. It moves onto her development of junior tennis in the community of Dunblane, her appointment as Scottish National Coach, and beyond into the careers of Andy and Jamie and the struggles this brought.
This book told me about a woman with buckets of determination, a woman trying to break into a man’s world, fighting to break the mould created within the tennis world. Its not just a man’s world, it’s an insight to the lack of ambition that once inhibited the sport. I can totally understand where the Murray boys get their drive from. They had a passion from an early age. They saw the tenacity of their mum, the “can do” attitude, not to mention the competitiveness between two brothers “If my big brother can do it, so can I…”
But Knowing The Score isn’t just about tennis. Mrs Murray talks about the Dunblane shootings and how it affected her, how it was to get that call. For me, I would fall apart if I were faced with that situation. And then there is Strictly, her foray into sequins and sparkle and the lasting relationships she made as part of the show.
It’s a very different book for me as a crime fiction fan but I am really glad I’ve read it. I found it easy to read, I suppose the word is uncomplicated. It felt like a narrated drama or documentary, written like she’s talking to me.
The one thing I like about the autobiographies and memoirs I’ve read is the interspersed photographs from the family albums and Judy Murray’s choices are no different. They go back to her early childhood all the way up to recent years with the success of her sons.
I have to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting such an insight into a mother’s life who has done probably everything for everyone else. The book shows how much she has done for others, whether it’s her two sons which she gave up masses for, the children in and around Dunblane, for children in Scotland or for women’s tennis. It’s a real eye opener if you’re like me and don’t know the full Judy Murray story. And I’d highly recommend it for any tennis fan!
Who Is Judy Murray?
Judy Murray is a former Scottish international tennis player with 64 national titles to her name. She became Scottish National Coach in 1995, the same year that she became the first woman to pass the Lawn Tennis Association’s Performance Coach Award. She initiated the Scottish Development School programme which ultimately produced four Davis Cup players and one Fed Cup player, including her Grand-Slam-winning sons, Jamie and Andy.