A new portrait of Andy Murray is set to go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The portrait was designed by British artist, Maggi Hambling, and includes a series of pictures showing the three-time major winner in action in Wimbledon whites. Murray struck different tennis poses in the portrait, including hitting a serve, a forehand on the stretch and a chasing down a backhand.
“I really like it. Because it is just very different to what I expected”, Murray said of the painting. “When you speak about a portrait I didn’t expect to see something like that. I like it and obviously because I know Maggi really well too, it just means a little bit more. There’s a personal relationship there.”
Hambling was also impressed with the work, and gave an insight into the inspiration behind the painting.
“Most people’s idea of a portrait is someone sitting on a chair, their head and shoulders. That’s not how it is for me” said Hambling. “Andy is about playing tennis. You are the most miraculous tennis player, that’s why it had to work as a painting about movement.”
“I made him do these impossible poses”, she continued. “He brought his whites because, of course, it had to be Wimbledon. If you think about tennis you’re either hitting the ball against the sky or against the grass so Andy’s movement between the two is very much what the painting is about”.
The painting will be on display in London until May after which it will be moved to Edinburgh to be shown at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Murray’s new-found love for art was aroused by a failed attempt at the discipline sometime last year while he was recuperating from hip surgery. The former world No. 1 recalls the fateful night that he found his wife’s canvasses and paint, and thought he could have a go at painting.
“It’s like most things really, you think, ‘I could do that’ or ‘that’s not difficult’,” he said. “My wife was out that night, I was by myself in the house. She came back from dinner and was like, ‘What the hell have you done?’”
“I ended up with paint on the ceiling and all over the floor. It was horrific!”
Ever the competitor, this failure challenged Murray to dig deeper into art, hence his meeting with Hambling. The Scot is a big admirer of the artist, and now owns seven of her paintings. Hambling follows her tennis, and was equally thrilled to receive the two-time Olympic Gold medalist.
“I’ve been a great fan of Andy’s forever really,” she said. “When I was a child, Americans always won everything and what I admire about Andy is that he’s his own person, he is other things as well as a tennis player.”
Murray has been bothered by a hip injury in the last couple of seasons. The Scot feared his career might be over at the start of last year, announcing at a tearful pre-Australian Open press conference that he could retire after the first major of the year, but following hip surgery in January, the 32-year-old was back on the court in June. He secured an emotional title triumph in Antwerp last October, but hasn’t played since then.
Murray had planned to return to the tour at the Miami Open later this month, but he now has more time to recuperate after the ATP Tour was put on hold for six weeks due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.