“Gave Everything”: Former Coach Reflects on His Partnership with Andy Murray

Published 01/18/2021, 10:30 PM EST
PARIS, FRANCE : Andy Murray of Great Britain smiles on court following his walkover in the Mens Singles semi final match against Milos Raonic of Canada on day six of the BNP Paribas Masters at Palais Omnisports de Bercy on in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)


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.

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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.

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Andy Murray of Great Britain poses with his Gold medal after defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the Men’s singles final at Olympic Tennis Centre on in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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.”

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Andy Murray’s mother gave Leon many opportunities

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.

GHENT, BELGIUM: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates defeating David Goffin of Belgium to win the Davis Cup during day three of the Davis Cup Final between Belgium and Great Britain at Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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.

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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?

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Purav Joshi

662 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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