Judy Murray has opened up about being labelled an “overbearing mum” as she claims a dad wouldn’t get the same treatment.
The 62-year-old has faced years of public scrutiny and abuse and says she’s been branded a “nightmare” parent for supporting her two sons, Wimbledon champion Andy and seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie.
Judy was captured in the crowd at Wimbledon in 2005 clapping, smiling, punching the air and baring her teeth as 18-year-old Andy unexpectedly made the third round before subsequently playing on the Centre Court.
The mum-of-two told Radio Times that she doesn’t believe the reaction would have been the same if a father was there to support his kids.
“If I’d been a dad doing the same thing, it would have been seen as so supportive,” she said in an interview with the magazine.
“Whereas I was a nightmare pushy parent, blah blah blah.
“I put up with it for years until I was forgiven when Andy won Wimbledon.”
She added: “I dealt with it by understanding that the people who know me are the ones who matter, but it still hurts you.”
These are the sort of untold lows that have helped define her career as a tennis coach, and she now wants to help others learn to how to cope when they come up against these sorts of issues.
“We need to keep having voices heard, faces seen and ensuring that those who are good enough are given the chance,” she told Radio Times.
“Will we still be having these conversations in five or ten years? I hope not.
“But the wheels of change turn slowly.”
Speaking on Sky TV’s 10-part series Driving Force in 2020, Judy explained how as a parent she needed to be very much apart of her children’s road to fame.
“If you’re going to take a young athlete on a journey that may lead them to superstardom, you need to prepare them for everything that will be part of that journey,” she said earnestly.
“And not just them, their immediate family as well, because it affects everybody.
“I kind of got catapulted into the spotlight during Wimbledon 2005.
“The nature of tennis is such that – Wimbledon in particular – if you’re watching on the TV, there’s no ad breaks and the cameras and the commentators need somewhere to go.
“So I found myself being picked out a lot, and the pictures that they used of me were always the aggressive ones.”
“If my kids had played rugby or cricket or football I’d have been lost in the crowd with all the other parents, nobody would ever have seen me,” she shrugged.
“The nature of tennis puts you in the spotlight in a way that probably no other sport does, with a parent who’s just watching their kids playing and supporting them.”
Judy’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.
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