The second annual Andy Murray LIVE, a charity tennis event held at the SSE Hydro, proved to be another spectacular success. Following on from last year’s inaugural event, Murray and some of the biggest names in tennis returned to raise money for Unicef and Scottish charity, Sunny-sid3-up, who aim to improve lives and communities in Scotland and abroad, including an initiative to help the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka. Overall, the event raised over £700,000, a total more than double the amount raised in the first edition, which will be shared between the two charities.
Murray was joined by his brother and Davis Cup winner Jamie Murray, as well as Tim Henman, Mansour Bahrami, and nineteen-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.
All five tennis stars gathered for a press conference courtside. Following his recent injury, Andy Murray revealed that he has been gradually getting more time on the court as he recovers and hopes to play in the Australian Brisbane, outlining that he plans to head to Australia earlier than normal this year to help with recovery.
The eight-time Wimbledon Champion, Roger Federer, was in high spirits. The 36-year-old spoke of his admiration for Murray and the effort he puts into his charitable work. Murray suggested that he thinks that an ATP event could be held in Scotland soon – with Federer joking that if this came to fruition, it should be played outside to get the benefit of “great” Scottish weather. The Swiss tennis legend also revealed his admiration for the Scottish sport, after a journalist produced a photo of him in a Scotland football top as a boy in South Africa. The Swiss claimed that he does not know how he ended up in it but he chose to support Scotland over South Africa.
The “Court Jester”, 61-year-old Mansour Bahrami was in usual jovial spirits, discussing his love for Scotland especially for shortbread, more specifically the kind made by Judy Murray. The Iranian’s last game in Scotland was 42 years ago, when he played in Edinburgh. Upon hearing this Federer quipped, “I hope I don’t have to wait that long.”
After the press conference, the players retired back to their dressing rooms to prepare for the night ahead. The entertainment began with Judy Murray, mother and former coach of Andy and Jamie, taking to the court with a selection of junior tennis players who were keen to show off their skills.
Following this light entertainment was the evening’s key event – Murray v Federer. In front of a capacity crowd of 10,800 at the Hydro, the Scotsman’s recent injury problems were unfortunately evident in his play early in the contest, particularly with his serving. However, considering his fitness levels compared to Federer, Murray provided a tough challenge and improved as the game progressed. Federer took the first set 6-3 with relative ease and at that point it looked like the Swiss would dominate. However, Murray put in an inspired performance to match Federer’s performance in the first set, winning the second, 6-3. Murray fitness levels were much to the surprise of everyone including his opponent, stating, “I didn’t expect him to be this good yet”. After each player took a set each the match went to a sudden death set (first to ten games wins), with Federer prevailing 10-6 after a tense final set.
Despite the friendly nature of the game, it was certainly competitive with neither player appearing to be resting or taking it easy. That said, the match did have its fair share of hilarity. Roger Federer promised that if a kilt was located he would put it on and play in it, low and behold just ten minutes after, a kilt was delivered to him and the Swiss hesitantly kept his promise. Federer would not be the only one donning stereotypical Scottish clothing. In fact it was the Swiss who produced a “see you Jimmy” hat for his opponent to wear and Murray happily obliged. Federer was complimentary of the native dress saying that he felt “naked” when he took off the kilt as well as pointing at the hat and joking “we also have funny things like that in Switzerland”.
Following this intense match, Murray did not have time for much respite, as he took the court for the second time playing in a doubles match alongside his brother against Bahrami and Henman. The timed-set game was played in a more friendly and comical tone than the clash between Murray and Federer. Bahrami entertained the crowd with incredible skill and his trademark sharp wit. The Iranian gave comically over-exaggerated grunts whenever he returned the ball and jokingly berated his team-mate Tim Henman throughout the match.
However, Bahrami was not the only one providing the comedy as characters Victor McDaid and Winston Ingram from the iconic Glaswegian comedy show Still Game entered the fray. The on-screen pensioners took over from the Murray brothers – after Winston greeted Jamie Murray by saying, “Hello Andy, son, [pointing at Andy] who’s your friend?”. Using their “cricket bats” they were swiftly beaten by the professionals before the Murray brothers reclaimed their places on the court.
After the event,Tony Feeney, spokesman for Sunny-sid3up said: “We are really grateful to Andy for choosing to support us this year. My brother Chris would have been so proud, and these funds will make a massive difference to what we can achieve in Glasgow and farther afield in Sri Lanka. We are already making plans to allocate some of the funds to help those that need it most during the Christmas period.”
Andy Murray LIVE 2017 was undoubtedly a fantastic success. The mix of high-quality tennis, comedy, and celebrity cameos is a winning formula and with the proceeds going to charity, what is not to like? Roll on Andy Murray 2018.