Tennis coach Judy Murray was put in the spotlight in 2005 when her youngest son Sir Andy Murray OBE made his Wimbledon debut.
The former world number one reached the third round of the men’s singles and Andy, who was 18 at the time, ended up playing against 2002 Wimbledon champion David Nalbandian in an epic battle.
What followed for Judy, who also coached his older fellow tennis champion Jamie, was years of public scrutiny as she encouraged her sons on the international tennis scene.
Judy, 61, is now using her platform to shine a light on the barriers and issues facing women in sports in the new Sky Sports series Driving Force.
“Being a mother of sons and being in the spotlight made me singled out and bullied,” she told us.
It was like there was something wrong with pumping your fist into the player’s box at Wimbledon and traveling the world to support your sons.
“But it’s your job as a parent.”
At Driving Force, the former international tennis player, who has 64 titles to her credit, meets some of the greatest female sports stars to discuss the driving forces that inspired them to break through the physical and mental barriers that stood in their way.
Examining topics such as sexism, discrimination and mental health, the series highlights the need for change for future generations.
“We’ve come a long way, but historically it’s a male domain,” said Judy.
She says London hosting the 2012 Olympics was a ‘shot in the arm’ for women in sports, with significant investment and an increase in ‘bums on seats’, but she is concerned this could be delayed due to COVID -19.
“We have to keep our foot on the gas,” she said.
Starting on November 24, Judy talks to Steph Houghton MBE, England and Manchester City captain, Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington OBE, Paralympic cyclist and former swimmer Dame Sarah Joanne Storey, professional boxers Katie Taylor and Natasha Jones, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin, Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton CBE, Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes, British sprinter Dina Asher Smith and Christine Ohuruogu MBE, the first female British athlete to win medals at three consecutive Olympics and the most decorated British athlete of all time.
Judy was delighted to see Nicola Adams OBE, the first female Olympic gold medalist for boxing in London 2012, break the barriers at this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Sadly, Nicola’s journey had to end after her professional partner Katya Jones was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Judy, who reached the Blackpool Tower stage of the BBC One dance show with Anton Du Beke in 2014, praised Nicola for ‘the opening’ as one-half of the show’s very first same-sex pairing.
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“She was fantastic and so fascinating,” she said.
“I’ve seen bits of it this year and was really upset when Anton went out.”
Reflecting on her time on the show, she said, “It was a huge step out of my comfort zone because I’m not used to performing.
“But if you do and survive it will be a huge boost and I have managed to get to Blackpool.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
The first episode of Driving Force on Tuesday, November 24 at 9pm on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Main Event at 10:15 pm. It will also be available on demand through Sky and NOW TV.
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