ANDY MURRAY has told how he knew Dunblame gunman Thomas Hamilton and even shared a car with the mass murderer.
The tennis star was just nine when Hamilton stormed into his primary school in March 1996 with four handguns, shooting 16 children and a teacher dead before killing himself.
Murray and his family were acquaintances with Hamilton – the former world No1 even sharing car journeys with the killer and attending his kids clubs.
And the 32-year-old has rarely spoken about the tragedy but opened up in the documentary ‘Andy Murray: Resurfacing’, which tracks his return from hip-resurfacing surgery in January.
Unable to have the conversation face-to-face, he left a voicemail for director Olivia Cappuccini.
Murray said: “You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me. Obviously I had the thing that happened at Dunblane. When I was around nine.
“I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons. The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things.”
The tragedy, coupled with his parents’ divorce and older brother Jamie moving away to play tennis, left the two-time Wimbledon winner struggling with “lots of anxiety” and used tennis as his escape mechanism.
And that is why he was so determined to fight back from the potentially career-ending operation and compete at the highest level again.
Murray won the European Open in Antwerp in October, less than nine months after going under the knife.
He added: “Within 12 months of that happening, our parents got divorced. It was a difficult time that for kids. To see that and not quite understand what is going on.
“And then six to 12 months after that, my brother also moved away from home. He went away to train to play tennis in Cambridge.
“We obviously used to do everything together. When he moved away that was also quite hard for me.
“When I was competing I would get really bad breathing problems.
“My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways. Because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up.
“I don’t know because we don’t talk about these things. They are not things that are discussed.
“The way that I am, on the tennis court, I show some positive things about my personality and I also show the bad things and things I really hate.
“Tennis allows me to be that child, that has all of these questions and that’s why tennis is important to me.”
Murray was accompanied by wife Kim, mum Judy and brother Jamie at last night’s premiere at the Curzon Bloomsbury in London as he watched the film for the first time.
The feature-length programme released by Amazon Prime Video on Friday reveals the full details of going under the knife and the subsequent mental and physical battle to get back to doing what he loves.
Speaking to journalists, the Scot revealed that he initially resisted opening up to Cappuccini, who has known the Murray family for years and is the girlfriend of Kim’s brother Scott.
He said: “I obviously spent a lot of time with the lady who was filming it.
“You were getting asked a lot of questions all the time. We were travelling together for quite a while, spending weeks on end together, and I was getting asked questions like, ‘Why is tennis important? Why is it important to you?’
“At the beginning, I was like: ‘Well, it is. It’s important to me. I know I am very fortunate I get to play, and very lucky that this is what I get to do for my living. It’s important for me for other reasons.
“‘And I don’t want to talk to you about it. Maybe I will tell you later on. I don’t want to discuss it.’”