Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has had many coaches throughout his career. But in tennis, the first coach usually makes the difference. Leon Smith, captain of the Great Britain Davis Cup team and former coach of Murray, shared his experience of coaching Andy.
The player-coach relationship between Leon and the 3-time Grand Slam champion started when the latter was 11 years old. Under Leon’s apprenticeship, Andy claimed the Junior Orange Bowl under-12 title and 5 ITF Futures events.
Even though Leon coached Murray only until he was 15, he made a significant impact on Murray’s game. Later on, he even took the seat in the box at the 2016 French Open when Andy had no full-time coach.
Looking back, Leon reminisced fond memories of junior events and growing up as a coach. “It was an incredible experience,” Leon said. “I got to travel internationally to the best junior events, and I got to see everything.”
The British tennis coach started as a professional coach at 18. He had in him a drive to prove himself right from the beginning. And with the future 2-time Olympic Gold medallist Murray, Lean saw everything tennis has to offer.
Leon said, “I was very hungry, passionate, willing to learn, willing to travel. It’s one thing when you get a break but you’ve also got to make the most of it and I hope and I think I did.”
Judy Murray, Andy’s mother, hired Leon as a coach for her son and for Tennis Scotland. Her confidence and trust motivated him to give his 100%. “I gave everything to the people I coached in the younger years, and Judy just kept giving me opportunities,” said Leon.
In 2010, Leon became the youngest captain of the Great Britain Davis Cup Team in three decades. And in 2015, ending 79 years of drought, the team lifted the cup against Belgium. To seal the title, Murray hit one of the most memorable winners in the game of tennis.
Presently, the 33-year-old is recovering from the coronavirus that also jeopardized his plans for the Australian Open 2021. Undoubtedly, Murray is one of the few players that fans never want to stop playing the game. Given his passion for the sport, he will definitely be back very soon.
Do you think Andy will play at the Australian Open 2021?