Last Tuesday the SSE Hydro in Glasgow played host to Andy Murray Live, a charity event which featured tennis stars of the past, present and future.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the entertaining exhibition match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, which marked the Scot’s return from a hip injury that hampered him in his quarter-final Wimbledon defeat to Sam Querrey earlier this year.
The evening opened with a once in a lifetime opportunity for the future stars of Scottish tennis as they attended a coaching session run by Judy Murray and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith. Following the coaching, Ewen Lumsden, who trains at the Gannochy National Tennis Centre, partnered up with Anna Brogan of Newlands LTC. Their opponents were Ali Collins of Dunblane and Aidan McHugh, who trains at David Lloyd West End in Glasgow. In a short set that lasted about 20 minutes, Lumsden and Brogan came through to a comfortable 4-1 win.
At 7.30pm, it was time for the main event, with Federer and Murray taking to the court. However, it was clear that neither player took the match too seriously, with Federer playing one game sporting a kilt donated from a female fan. Not to be outdone, Murray donned his own Scottish attire, preferring a ‘See You Jimmy’ hat.
In the opening set, Federer’s effortless strokes proved to be too much for Murray, as the Swiss world number two took the set, 6-3. However, with the support of the home crowd behind him, Murray found his rhythm and won the second set 6-3. In a tense tiebreak that featured a break in proceedings when Andy Murray allowed youngster McHugh to play a point, Federer came through to win the match 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
After a quick breather for Andy, in which the winner of the DIGI Inventors Challenge was announced, play resumed. The doubles match that followed proved to be a family affair, with the Murray brothers pairing up to face the retired Mansour Bahrami, known as the ‘master of trick shots’, and Tim Henman. With microphones on court, the match was even more entertaining; play was punctuated by numerous grunts from Bahrami and Henman alike. The frustration of Bahrami was only too clear to see after Henman performed two double faults in a row. A shout of “Over the net!” echoed around the arena, interspersed by laughter from the crowd.
Despite Bahrami and Henman’s combined age of 104, the number of rallies at the net demonstrated the repertoire of skills the pair possessed as they put on a sizzling display of shot-making. In a packed half-hour, the audience witnessed numerous hot-dog attempts, some of which were more successful than others. Experience ultimately prevailed, though, with the veterans taking a 4-3 victory.
Even with the stunning lineup of tennis stars and talent who produced some incredible tennis, it is important to remember the reason for this gathering. Last year the event raised in excess of £300,000 for the children’ charities UNICEF and Young People’s Futures, who carry out invaluable work with some of the poorest and most deprived to provide relief to children in Scotland and across the world. This year’s funds will hopefully exceed last year’s total and will once again be split between UNICEF and local Scottish charity, Sunny Sid3-Up.