We were just having breakfast on the morning that Andy was due to collect his OBE at Buckingham Palace when the gate rang. The taxi wasn’t due for another 20 minutes, so I walked down the drive and peered through the gate to see who it was. A guy flashed a card at me. Drugs tester.
“You have to be kidding!” I said. I was more frustrated than Andy, who seemed to take it in his stride and see the funny side. It can take ages to get a sample if you’ve just been to the loo and I had visions of us turning up at the Palace embarrassingly late. Luckily, the guy said: “It’s not a urine test, it’s blood.” So Andy sat at the table, had his blood taken, and we only left quarter of an hour late.
I may be his mum, but I thought he looked fantastic in his suit."
Apart from that jolt (and Andy does seem to get tested more than other players between the International Tennis Federation, the British Olympic Association and the World Anti-Doping Agency) it was a great day. Andy had been given a good haircut - something going on with it pushed to one side. I may be his mum, but I thought he looked fantastic in his suit (and the tie Kim chose for him).
My outfit - Wimbledon colours - was sheer luck. I’m known by my nieces as 'Auntie Judy in a Hoodie' so I am not exactly renowned for my ball gowns.
We had less than two weeks before the ceremony, so in a panic I thought: ‘God, how am I going to find anything in time?’ I phoned my friend, Laura, who is a far more accomplished shopper than me and she took me to a place in Glasgow - more like a house than a shop - called “By Storm”. I found this outfit in the green and purple of Wimbledon which was fabulous. But way too big.
In the end the wonderful woman who ran the business arranged for me in two hours to have a fitting, find some shoes, have them dyed to match and the whole thing was sent to me in a parcel a couple of days before our Palace appointment.
Andy was, of course, oblivious to all of this desperate activity. This is the boy, after all, who used to run out of tennis shirts at tournaments when he was kid and leave it to me to wash them and dry them with hairdryers just before he was due on court.
Chatting with the Prince
He and Prince William seemed to have a good talk about Andy’s back operation when he received the Award and how things had been after Wimbledon. Andy asked him to thank Kate for the letter she had sent him after his SW19 triumph - and to say how impressive her handwriting is. He risked a bit of a dig about William’s own writing, which was taken in really good spirit. He said he’ll get his wife to give him lessons.
Afterwards, there wasn’t time for a huge celebration. You know what Andy’s like. We went back to the house, ate and then he went back to his rehab and fitness work. He’s still a bit incapacitated and working very hard to recover as quickly as possible.
Back in the tennis (as opposed to the regal) world, I am not surprised by the relative struggles that Laura Robson and Heather Watson have gone through in 2013. Both of them shot up the rankings in 2012, but it’s one thing to get into the top 50, another thing to stay there, and another again to crack on into the top 10. I know both girls well as the Federation Cup captain and no-one is panicking.
Judy has worked with Laura Robson and Heather Watson as Fed Cup captain
It’s the day in, day out grind that helps players to produce great performances on a consistent basis. It takes a while to get used to that and the work required to get to the top. Kids of their age are at university or in their first jobs, going out, enjoying themselves with friends. They’re both great fun girls and it’s not easy to find the right balance straight away, especially as Heather’s been hampered by illness most of the season.
But they both have great foundations to work on; it just might take a bit of time. People should back off a bit. There’s no rush to be superstars. Give them time.
It is along those lines that we’re hosting a special three days for tennis coaches of young players at the National Tennis Centre on how to manage the big step up to being a pro. I didn’t have a clue when Andy and Jamie went on the road about things like the media, sponsors, agents. One minute you’re on the junior circuit in your comfort zone and the next you’re in an environment that’s very dog-eat-dog.
We hope the experience of others will really help the coaches of our next generation of talent. We don’t want people falling by the wayside unnecessarily. We want to help them be mentally tough and survive.
Judy Murray was talking to Sue Mott. Follow Judy on Twitter: @judmoo.
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