The Wordplay festival got off to a flying start on Thursday evening, with an enthusiastic audience showing up to hear tennis coach and celebrity mother Judy Murray talk about her new autobiography, Knowing the Score.
Interviewed on stage by festival curator Karen Cunningham, Murray gave an insightful, funny and deeply personal insight into her unique life and family dynamic. The session avoided focusing too much on the exploits of her tennis champion sons Andy and Jamie, and all the better for it.
Murray’s own career as a successful tennis player (with over 60 titles to her name) and subsequent work to raise the profile of tennis in Scotland in various roles (including Scottish national coach and Fed Cup captain) deserved the limelight.
Murray, who this week was giving tennis lessons in Shetland as part of her “Tennis on the Road” initiative, has inarguably been the driving force behind changing the perception of tennis in Scotland, having coached not only her Grand-Slam winning sons but also a number of Davis and Fed cup players.
Charming and genuinely funny, Murray’s stories about the challenges she faced as a woman in the male-dominated tennis scene, as a coach, and as the mother of two rising tennis stars provided a look at an utterly unique life.
Her recollections of her experiences on the day of the massacre at Dunblane Primary School (where her sons were pupils) were far more poignant and thoughtful.
She described the “Thank God” moment when she learned that her children were not harmed, and the ensuing guilt at her own reaction. Having lived in Dunblane much of her life, her comments about the aftereffects and the town’s long recovery were profound and thoughtful.
Undisputably a trailblazer for women in sport, Murray said her book was her way of passing on what she had learned the hard way over the course of her fascinating life and career. To anyone interested in sport, Knowing the Score will surely provide a diverting and interesting read.
Alex Garriock Wright