with Grant Mortar

Home Defence UK
A Symptom of a Greater Malaise
At Home with Andy Murray by Grant Mortar, Off-Duty Football Reporter

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When I told my colleagues about the interview I’d scheduled with Dundee-born tennis 
tyro Andy Murray, I might have expected some raised eyebrows. Mr. Murray, 47, is a 
notoriously difficult interviewee. The words taciturn, surly and spiky have all been used to describe him in the
past. But when I announced my coup this week, rampant jealousy was the abiding emotion from the rest of the
news desk. Because, it seems, his oh-so near success at this year’s Wimbledon meant the British public have
taken him to their bosoms where he will suckle from the teat of goodwill for ever more.

So on a typically wet Wimbledonny Wednesday, I drove across the border into Scotland and set out for
Murray’s home town of Dumfries. And what a charming, quaint little village awaited me that day! No wonder
Murray, 16, has turned out so well. 

                                On the way to his country pile, bought from the rich-pickings of his burgeoning tennis career, I jotted down 
                                a few notes about what I’d ask the thirtysomething Aberdonian. Of course, questions relating to his estranged
                                father, the Hollyrood actor Bill Murray (left), are strictly off-limits, but perhaps I might inquire as to his opinion
                                of the Ghostbusters movies, which were probably still showing in the local picture house. Or, I could ask him
                                whether his communication with the older Murray man, 23, was simply Lost in Translation.

It was with these thoughts in mind I pulled up to Murray’s purpose-built apartment 
complex, the one with the tennis court on the roof. Ruby Murray (right), Andy’s mother 
and erstwhile coach, was there to meet me, shepherding my battered old convertible 
into the underground garage with all the finesse of a traffic cop. 

‘Don’t go upsetting the lad,’ she warned, making sure my cameraman got her best, most fanatical side, as 
he shot reel after reel of film. “He’s in one of his down periods at the moment. After the pressure of 
Wimbledon, Andy just needs to let himself go a little. He’s only fifteen, after all.”

But nothing could have prepared me for the sight of Edinburgh-born Murray, 89, as he opened his front door. The man had clearly 'let himself go' in the weeks since his agonising semi-final defeat. Like Ricky Hatton in-between fights, Murray had ballooned in weight and appeared a bloated, caricaturish version of himself. He waddled across the floor as a sea lion might and embraced me before asking if I’d brought any ‘skag’, which I presumed to be some new flavour of Robinson’s juice product. Andy had also grown a boyish version of Billy Connolly’s beard, even going so far as to dye it purple, which I thought was a nice touch.

He looked like he was starring in the Dickensian version of Super Size Me. Or perhaps he was turning into the 
Marshmallow Man…?

Murray suggested the interview be conducted in his tennis court-sized Jacuzzi. And as he was getting 
changed into his trunks, I got a full, unrestricted view of his new marshmallowy bulk. No longer did he 
resemble the bumbling idiot out of Gregory’s Girl. Instead, he’d become a mess; one of the lads out of 
Trainspotting, only fatter. I presumed he would bat my questions out of court like he does on return of 
serve, but Murray’s answers were rather bloated and lackadaisical, just like his body.

I started with the easy questions, letting Murray, 42, settle into the interview before I really tested him.

‘What do you think about Rafael Nadal?’ I asked.

‘Bampot,’ sneered Murray, before stuffing a cheeseburger into his mouth. He must have had it concealed in
his trunks.


‘He’s a wee radge, that one,’ seethed the Glaswegian, pulling a bottle of Buckfast from a mini-fridge, perched precariously on the edge of the Jacuzzi, only one small drunken slip away from the raging torrent within. It was like something out of a horror movie. Like Ghostbusters, perhaps.

“Okay… how’s about some of the women? What do you think of the way they get paid the same as the 
men, despite only ever having to play a maximum of three sets?”

Murray smiled bitterly; some drool slipped down his badly-stubbled chin: “That auld Kournikova was a wee 
ride, but the noo? 'Cept for her they all look like the fellers.”

With that, Murray started to buzz frantically on his panic button, calling his mother Ruby (left) into the room.

“Get me a wee dram, mammy!” he demanded, and Ruby scootled off to collect it from the kitchen…

…which brought me on nicely to the next question, the difficult one. The one about what happens when you
have overly competitive parents trying to turn their wee bairn into a world champion at the age of three.

“How does it make you feel?” I asked him.

Murray fixed me with fiery eyes; the same eyes I’d seen him fix on his Quarter-Final opponent, before blasting him out of the water. “You’re no askin’ me that-a-one,” he said. “Ya wee radge.”

Luckily, Ruby Murray re-entered the room and answered for him: “Andrew likes it, don’t you Andy-kins? You love mummy-wummy looking out for you? He’s my likkle Marshmallow Man!”

“Piss off mammy, you’re not even properly Scottish,” drawled Murray, 71. “To tell ya the truth, matey, I fooking detest tennis. Tennis is fooking boring. I’d much rather be livin’ the high life in some Edinburgh apartment block, having Keith Allen to stay and then bumping him off, like that Begbie outta Trainspotting.”

I couldn’t help but conclude that Murray’s addled brain had started to convince him living in Scotland was 
kind of like living in a film, possibly thinking himself the bulbous reincarnation of Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Andy had gone over the edge, melted like marshmallows over a raging fire and started to believe his own 
hype. There was only one thing that could save him now. That was to cross the streams. Like his father 
had done before him in Ghostbusters.

But getting Murray, 56, from the Jacuzzi to the toilet was no mean feat. I managed it by holding a small baggie of talcum power in front of his twitching nose. 

Like leading a horse to water, I thought.

And so, I helped Andy out of his swimming trunks and we stood around the luxury toilet bowl in Murray Mound. After a brief, emotional look into Murray’s pale face, I unzipped and started to release a steady stream of urine. Murray reciprocated; it was almost as if he couldn’t help it. As though I’d served, and he felt duty bound to return.

We crossed the streams. In the distance, somewhere over West Lothian, there was a crack of thunder. The sky turned black. Murray looked as if he was going to faint. 

And then… And then his greasy hair started to spring to curly attention again. He started to mouth indecipherable tennis terms and question non-existent line-calls: 


Before I knew it he was scrawling his autograph on the wall and muttering pleasantries to an imaginary
BBC TV crew. Right then, I knew we had the old Andy Murray back again.

Thank goodness.