World No. 2 Andy Murray has long been an outspoken activist for mental health awareness within and outside of sport, and today the Scot took to social media to reveal that he would be writing on the issue in the months to come.
In a column, Murray called his tennis career a “pretty emotional job.”
“Whether I’m winning or losing,” he said in the column, “there’s a huge amount going on under the surface. The pressure is always there and quite honestly, at times it’s hard to hide.”
Murray, who struggled with on-court outbursts for a significant portion of the early part of his career, has since appeared to have calmed down significantly. The 29-year-old was often prone to fits of anger or rage, an issue that was spoken about at length by his coaches – including former coach Amelie Mauresmo, whom the Scot split with earlier this year.
Revealing himself to be an “emotional guy,” Murray says it was only when he lost to Federer at the finals of Wimbledon in 2012 – and burst into tears on court, that people noticed and acknowledged the fact.
Murray mentions that a number of men are “afraid of letting that mask slip,” and that an openness about emotions and mental struggles was a necessity both in sport and outside of it.
29-year-old Murray, who has credited his partner of over a decade, Kim Sears, with helping him calm down, recently offered to help young Australian ace Nick Kyrgios, who has of late been struggling with his own mental health; Kyrgios recently received a sanction from the ATP, or the Association of Tennis Professionals that offered a reduced sanction if the 22-year-old agreed to mental health counseling.
Murray, through his new venture, called Building Modern Men, has said he aims to have a “...chance to make a genuine difference for an entire generation of men to start living their lives in a different way.”
The ace, who is on the cusp of overtaking Novak Djokovic as the top-ranked men’s singles player, also addressed the issue during his home Grand Slam, Wimbledon, where he would go on to add to his Grand Slam tally this year. Murray is said to be working significantly with the LTA – the British Lawn Tennis Association, on helping develop mental health facilities for younger players in the system.
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Kim Murray (nee Sears) gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Sophia earlier this year, and Murray has said that the experience of being a father has made him “more emotional,” a fact he alludes to in his editorial, saying that “...as a new father issues around fatherhood fascinate me, as do the issues such as bereavement, stereotypes around sexuality, how we talk about women, expressing emotion and masculinity.“
Having long been involved with mental health in sport, Murray, an outspoken advocate of the cause, is now working towards improving mental health across the UK.
With his recent title win at the ATP500 Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria, Murray is within 415 points of overtaking World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on the ATP rankings; should he win the title at the BNP Paribas Paris Masters, currently underway in the French capital, Murray will take the World No. 1 title.
Murray will play Spanish ace Fernando Verdasco in his opening match.