Nino Severino: An honour to have Judy Murray visit us in Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
In his latest column, Nino Severino shares news of a trip to the Elena Baltacha Foundation by patron Judy Murray.
This has truly been an amazing week with our incredible patron, Judy Murray, visiting Ipswich to work with our Elena Baltacha Foundation-supported tennis players.
Judy was an incredible friend to Elena, and once said “If I was to have had a daughter, I would have wanted her to be Elena” – so of course this was not only a very special occasion for the children, it was also a deeply personal event for me as well.
Judy always goes above and beyond for our foundation – she gives as much as she can to the players who we support, and this occasion was no different.
Her schedule is global, if any of you follow her Twitter account you will know, one week she could be in the UK, the next in Europe, and then in the US or Australia – I sometimes wonder how she has the energy to actually deliver all her commitments!
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And the day she visited Ipswich was no exception, she was leaving very early from an event the previous night in Swindon, and then, straight after our event, travelling to the Norwich Playhouse to present her book ‘Knowing the Score’ which was in association with The Writers Centre.
It’s hard to explain how much excitement there was around the Foundation, knowing that Judy was going to spend a full two hours with the girls.
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They all know the Judy Murray story, and her relationship with my wife, so everyone had been waiting for this event for months, and they were not disappointed.
To know how special this lady is, you need to know her story.
She was actually a Scottish international tennis player, and the national coach for Scotland, and of course went on to be part of a history-making story, guiding both sons, Andy and Jamie, to number one rankings in the tennis world, an incredible and motivating life story.
The story began in Dunblane, Scotland, where Judy devised many games and drills to develop the core skills of her youngsters, and it was these games and drills that filled the two-hour session with the girls.
She was absolutely fantastic, telling the girls stories about Andy and Jamie, and how they enjoyed many hours playing the very same games and drills.
The parents also benefited from the session, as Judy consistently reverted her attention to the balcony where all the parents were standing and passed on knowledge and advice to them as well.
After the event, all the parents came down onto the court, and it was such a lovely ending to the visit, with Judy taking her time to talk with everyone, and having her pictures taken with the players and of course the parents as well – who I think were just as excited as the girls!
Many of the them had Judy’s book with them, and she was more than happy to sign them all.
Her time on Strictly Come Dancing contributed much to helping the public realise that Judy is much more than the image of a stern-looking mum on the balcony of the centre court at Wimbledon.
She is a hugely intelligent woman, with a giving and caring personality and a massive sense of humour!
My sister Anna Sheppard, has become a very close friend of hers, and our time with her did not end after the event, as we both travelled with Judy over to Norwich to watch her show that evening.
Once we got to Norwich, we settled in and had a private pre-event meal with her and then went on to watch what was an incredibly entertaining and at times hilariously funny show.
I really must advise anyone who has the opportunity to attend one of these events to do so, especially if you are a parent of a young tennis player – it’s a master class in fighting against all the odds, resilience, strength and ultimately realising the tennis dream!
I often talk about how privileged my life has been, and how lucky I am, through Elena’s achievements to have so many special friends.
And this evening ended in the perfect way – a memorable time in the lounge with my sister, Judy and her publicist, chatting into the early hours of the morning about all things tennis, sport and life in general.