Sports documentaries help fans understand the daily lives of elite athletes. A new documentary about tennis star Andy Murray certainly lives up to this idea. Viewers can see Murray’s highs and lows as he recovers from a painful hip injury and tries to return to tennis. There are also rarely-seen family moments that Murray initially wanted to keep to himself.
The 32-year-old is very private. So, director Olivia Cappuccini had to negotiate with the tennis star to film scenes involving his family. So why did Murray agree to film and how did they afford him privacy during production?
Why is now the time for Andy Murray’s documentary?
Murray is one of the best tennis players of his generation. He’s had a fine career, winning three Grand Slam tournaments, two Olympic gold medals, a Davis Cup and the ATP World Tour Final. But the last few years are defined by his injuries.
Murray may have won more if he played in a different era than Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. But as that trio of players manages to avoid the effects of aging, Murray has not been as fortunate. Two hip surgeries and an ankle problem kept him from playing his best tennis from 2017-19. Either he underperformed in tournaments or he withdrew before taking one serve.
Murray went from being No. 1 in the ATP rankings to 839th, his lowest ranking since he first entered the pros in 2003. The Amazon documentary, Andy Murray: Resurfacing, details his journey to return to the court.
Who came up with the idea for this documentary?
A notoriously private person, Murray surprisingly came up with the idea for the documentary. It helped, of course, that the director he approached was a family friend, Cappuccini, also the girlfriend of Murray’s brother-in-law, Scott Sears.
The initial concept was to record rehab after his first hip surgery and eventual return to Wimbledon. But as Murray’s injuries continued to plague him, Cappuccini realized this documentary had a much larger scope than they planned.
Cappuccini discussed this switch in direction with BT TV: “When he hit a couple of bumps in the road … it became a much bigger story and that’s when John [the producer] came on board and it became the film that it is today, two years later.”
As Resurfacing became a more expansive documentary, the filmmakers took the opportunity to show more shades of Murray’s daily life.
Resurfacing gives unprecedented access to Murray’s life
Murray has gone to great lengths to keep his family, particularly his children, away from the spotlight. He never shares photos of his kids on social media; their faces get pixelated out of paparazzi photos; and he’s never done press with his wife, Kim.
This makes the snippets of Murray and his family engaging in activities, like building a snowman and dancing to “Baby Shark,” so special. Murray hopes these moments will help viewers see his story differently. His injury and rehab impacted not just him but his family, too:
“I hope it makes for a more interesting watch for people, and I’m sure they will, because I know my wife’s a good person [who] presents herself well. It is also that when I’m going through this [rehab] process, I’m being selfish, but your family and your team who are part of it as well, they’re suffering with you, but you don’t always realise that when you’re in it, because you’re thinking about your own problems.
All of this context makes his journey to full health all the more moving. Murray recorded part of the documentary himself through video diaries after his first hip surgery. The second surgery is actually shown in all of its graphic glory, exposing the man at his lowest ebb.
Seeing him in this state makes his return to the tennis world even more impressive. When done right, documentaries paint a portrait of an athlete that helps fans understand them on a deeper level. Resurfacing is such a documentary.
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