At just 21 years of age, Andy Murray is Britain’s number one tennis player and ranked fourth in the world. He has enjoyed tremendous success in the Middle East so far this year (he beat Andy Roddick in the Qatar Open and world number one, and Rafael Nadal at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi). He talks to Time Out Kids about growing up as a tennis pro.
When did you decide you wanted to be a professional tennis player?
I was 14 when I decided to give up football and concentrate on tennis. Up to that point I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a footballer or a tennis player.
What was it like being a kid and a talented player – did everyone want to be your pal, or did you miss out because you were practising so much?
I loved playing but especially loved competing and I was lucky to get the opportunity to play events overseas from the age of 10. I had a lot of friends – and my brother – on the tennis circuit, but I also played football for a local junior team and for my school so I saw a lot of my school mates too. I never really felt I was missing out on anything because I was enjoying it.
Is tennis a good sport for kids, or do you think team sports are more fun?
Team sports are probably more fun because you have others around you to play, train and travel with, but I always liked the challenge of the individual competition – being out there on your own trying to work out how to beat the other guy!
What’s the most difficult stroke for you in tennis?
Probably the backhand smash, but luckily you don’t have to play it very often.
What’s the most difficult stroke for kids to manage?
When you are very small, it’s definitely the serve, especially getting the ball toss in the right place.
Is there any advice you’d give to children hoping to become professional tennis players when they grow up?
Find a good coach and a good club with lots of activity, then work hard and believe in yourself.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to play computer games – ‘Football Manager 2009’ is my latest purchase. I also like to go go-karting and watch boxing and football on TV.
What are your favourite movies?
Probably Saw 1, 2 and 3, but I also like watching DVDs of stand-up comedians.
How about music?
I like Eminem and 50 Cent.
What is it that you like most about the Middle East?
I love the atmosphere at the events in the Middle East. The crowd always gives me great support. The hospitality is probably the best in the world and the weather’s not bad either!