Adopted Yorkshireman Jonny Marray may not be a household name, but the 36-year-old former tennis star is forging a big imprint on the sport in the White Rose county.
Marray first rose to prominence in 2012 when he won the men’s doubles at Wimbledon with his partner Freddie Nielsen.
There is now an all year interest in the sport, rather than just a summer interest.Jason Torpey of The Academy
Marray and Nielsen had only played in three tournaments together when they put in their wild card application for Wimbledon in 2012. The pair’s success in the tournament came as a shock to many, but for Marray it marked the result of 15 years of hard work and dedication.
Now, the former Wimbledon winner – who was born in Liverpool – is lending his experience to The Academy, a Sheffield-based tennis school. The Academy is run by Jonny’s brother Dave and Jason Torpey, and together their core values are passion, honesty and enjoyment. In Jonny Marray they could not have found a better ambassador.
The former champion famously admitted to touching the net in the third-set-tie-break of his Wimbledon final. In an age where victory is all-consuming, Marray’s integrity shone through and set a good example to the youth.
The success of Andy Murray and Jo Konta has helped to raise the profile of tennis, and Torpey said: “There is now an all-year interest in the sport rather than just a summer interest.”
This added interest is reaping the rewards for Yorkshire tennis at the moment, with the Under-12 girls and Under-14 girls winning national titles recently.
Young Luke Hoyland is also capturing the imagination of coaches at The Academy by competing for his country at the Under-10 internationals.
Torpey says that having Marray involved is great for the kids as it helps to reinforce what their teacher and coaches tell them: success is not acquired overnight and requires hard work and dedication.
Jonny is still involved with top-level tennis, providing coaching for doubles pair Henri Kontinen and John Peers 12 weeks of the year.
Whether he moves into full-time coaching or not, he is providing the perfect example for Yorkshire’s stars of tomorrow.