Sir Andy Murray has claimed that he was offered the chance to join the Rangers school of excellence as a teenager before ultimately giving up football to pursue tennis [Amazon Prime Video Sport].
After several heavily disrupted seasons due to injury, Murray had Britons back glued to their screens earlier this week with a couple of heroic displays at Wimbledon.
The 34-year-old defied the odds to make it to the third round of the grass-court Grand Slam before being knocked out by up-and-coming Canadian left-hander Denis Shapovalov.
The former world no.1 insists he plans to continue playing for the foreseeable future, too, as he is simply loving being back out on the tour competing once again.
However, in an interview with Amazon Prime Video Sport, he’s suggested that his life could have been very different but for a snap decision he made as a teen.
“The [football] team that I played for was called Gairdoch United and they were like a feeder team for the Rangers school of excellence,” he explained. “Basically, what would happen, is about once a year or whatever, our team would go to train at the Rangers school of excellence and the scouts or coaches there would watch the training and everything.”
“At the end of the session I got asked to stay behind with my dad and then I was asked if I wanted to train there. I had to make a decision then the following week – I was fourteen or fifteen at the time – what do I do? Go for tennis or go for football?”
“The next week, I went for a tennis session and my dad picked me up after forty minutes, which is pretty short for a tennis session. I was supposed to be going for about an hour but I had to go to football training straight afterwards. I left the court with my dad and on the way to the car, I said to him ‘dad, I want to stay – I’m going to do tennis’ and that was it.”
It’s always interesting to hear stories like these from famous sportspersons whose decisions at a young age shaped their careers.
Who knows whether or not Murray would have made it in football had he thrown himself into the Gers’ school of excellence.
However, as one of Britain’s greatest ever sportsmen, it’s fair to say it’s likely that the three-time Grand Slam-winner and double-Olympic champion made the right call going with tennis.