Escaping the city for life in a Mexican surf town.
The 36-year-old sports icon discusses tennis, travel, and why he wishes he'd been less hard on himself.
THE SUN WAS peeking from behind thick clouds over Wimbledon as Andy Murray took a break from training. The oldest tennis tournament in the world, where white-clad athletes entertain strawberry-nibbling crowds, was yet to start. (Strawberries, a delicacy when Wimbledon first began in nineteenth-century London, have long been traditional fare at the tournament).
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion (and American Express tennis ambassador), has won Wimbledon multiple times, first in 2013 against Novak Djokovic and then again in 2016 against Milos Raonic. But the 36-year-old hasn’t cracked the world’s top-32 tennis players since 2018, as he’s dealt with hip issues, pandemic delays, and a hiatus in 2021 to welcome his fourth child. Now ever-determined, the Dunblane, Scotland-born player has achieved his first wins on grass since that 2016 double championship at Wimbledon, with 2023 victories at Surbiton Trophy and the Nottingham Open.
This professional resolve surfaced throughout our conversation, as Murray struggled to redirect his thoughts to off-court pleasures — that is until he started talking about his wife, Kim Sears, and their four young children. “There are a few more demands on my time right now,” he confessed. “[But] I get to be at home with my family.”
Of course, those hard-to-reach, more personal layers are where the good stuff is. He had some surprising advice for his younger self and important reflections on regret, alternative lives, and the meaning of success.
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My grandma’s soup. My two favorites are minestrone and chicken broth. We always have buttered bread rolls that she gets fresh in the morning. The first thing I do when I go home is drive to her house and ask if she’s got any soup. She’s 90. I’m starting to realize it’s a little bit unreasonable to make her rustle food up like she did when we were younger [laughs]. She’s brilliant. But she doesn’t want to give anyone her secret recipes.
If you play 25 tournaments a year, you’re going to lose every week, and you’re going to be unhappy, so it has to be about effort.
I took off on a flight to Paris, and one of the engines went out after takeoff. I was sitting with my friend, and neither of us is a good traveler. I expected that I would be really frightened, but we were both laughing.
On the way back, I had to fly to Scotland via London. It was awful weather. Thunder and lightning before we took off, and then the plane got hit twice by lightning straight after takeoff, and I was properly scared then. There was a loud bang, and when we landed, the fire brigade was there. The fact that bad things happened there and back made me question things.
My favorite place to go is probably Melbourne. I love Australia in January during the Australian Open. There’s good food; you’re near the sea. Also, people are really friendly. I’m into coffee, and the flat white was said to be invented in Melbourne.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone always told me I was being too hard on myself, but it’s a fine line because I think that being hard on yourself shows that you’re motivated to do well and to improve.
This is a really hard question for me because ultimately what you’re trying to do in sports is win. But in tennis, if you play 25 tournaments a year, you’re going to lose every week, and you’re going to be unhappy, so it has to be about effort.
All that you can do is do your best — and it’s good to be hard on yourself. But a lot of the time, when I tried my hardest and maybe hadn’t gotten the outcome I wanted, I would still be beating myself up.
A psychologist told me, “Imagine your kid was in that situation — how would you speak to them?” I certainly speak to my children a lot better than I speak to myself.
I always turn to my mum. She’s usually the person I call if something has gone wrong or if I’m upset about something. I find her really comforting, and she listens really well and has always been very supportive.
Post-training ice baths when my legs are sore. In the last month, I’ve started taking ice baths when I wake up, which is really hard because my kids wake me up at 6:30 in the morning, and then I’m in a 6-degree bath.
I see disappearing as not being recognized and just being able to be normal — not getting stopped in the street to take pictures or selfies. When I go to Japan or China, I feel like nobody recognizes me, and that’s what disappearing feels like to me now.
In 2013, my wife and I stayed at the One & Only resort in the Bahamas, and that was great. Now when we go away, it’s not really an escape, as we have children. It’s hectic.
Are you OK with me swearing? It’s called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” I’m not a huge reader, but I will read books to my children for an hour (just not that book).
I don’t know. That’s too hard.
I struggle with ice cream. There’s always Häagen-Dazs in the freezer calling to me at 9:30 at night.
I would have liked to have been a footballer, but recently I’ve gotten quite into art. I’m awful at it. My kids often ask me to paint and draw, and I’m terrible at it, so I appreciate people who can do it well. I want to be a good artist.
I wish I’d spent more time with my friends and family when I was younger. I wish I’d celebrated my successes more than I did. There are lots of things that I regret. There are lots of things I would change.
I feel like my wife is staring at me — if I don’t say our wedding day, I’ll be in trouble. But I’ll just say a very boring one: the day I won Wimbledon in 2016. That was a good day. I would like to feel that again!
This article has been edited for length and clarity.
Kemi Alemoru is a London-based, Manchester-born writer, editor, host, and consultant. She has interviewed Alicia Keys, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Spike Lee, and Doja Cat, among others. Alongside chasing celebrities, she writes about pop culture, art and photography, music, and dabbles in social commentary. Occasionally she also writes about fashion — as a treat.
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