MOOR caught up with professional tennis player Liam Broady on one of his recent trips home. Winner of the 2010 boys’ doubles at Wimbledon and now working his way up the men’s ranking, Liam spared some time in his busy schedule for pudding and chat in Tusk.
When did you start playing tennis?
I was four! My dad loves tennis and got me into it – I remember him teaching me table tennis first with me standing on a chair!
Did you know straight away that tennis was your sport?
When I was younger I loved all sorts of sports: I enjoyed football and was a reasonable swimmer and then at secondary school [Priestnall] I ran the 100m, but racket sports really were my thing. I remember being in an inter-school tennis competition when I was in year 7 [11-12 years old] and I won….so maybe that was a turning point. The prize was a backpack!
How much do you have to train?
On a normal day I play about four hours of tennis and maybe do an hour of fitness training. The Northern Tennis Club and David Lloyd Fitness have been amazingly supportive and given me free membership. Life Leisure by Broadstone Mill have been great too. I have the same fitness trainer as Scott Quigg [the boxer]so that really helps keep me fit. Before a big match I might also work more with a coach, for instance before Wimbledon this year I worked with Nathan Rooney a lot.
Sometimes I go to Spain or Florida for an intense week or two of training: if you’re playing tournaments outside it makes sense to train and practice outside and that not always possible in the UK!
The spotlight was on you back in June when, not only were you playing at Wimbledon, you were drawn against world No.2 (and previous Wimbledon Champion) Andy Murray in the first round! Did you feel the pressure?
Strangely no. I like a crowd, (it gives me confidence) and it was a big crowd! But as two Brits were playing there was a really good, warm feeling. My family were up in the Royal Box, all mixed in with Andy’s lot and there was a lot of good natured banter between Judy Murray and Naomi [Liam’s tennis playing sister]. But at the end of the day Andy wasn’t going to make it any easier for me – he was there to win. My main concern was to at least win a game! Once I knew I could win some points and games, I was able to focus on the tennis without any fear of complete humiliation.
Is Wimbledon your favourite tournament?
Yes. A really good crowd and amazing feeling.
How was it, playing mixed doubles with your sister Naomi?
I really enjoyed it. We were both pretty shattered but it was nice to share something so special with her. And again, the crowd there were great.
Do you train with Naomi and play together a lot?
Not really, we’re not in the same place as each other that often – in fact we’d never actually played together in mixed doubles before that match! Plus, I’m left-handed which can be tricky for some doubles partners. But you talk about each point before hand and instinct kicked in too so I think we worked well together.
I have to ask about the tattoos: the press always seem to home in on you when you’re changing your top and comment on them!
It’s funny because actually there are a lot of us with tattoos – it’s becoming more normal in the tennis world. Perhaps mine are just bigger and more on show so they’ve had a few comments! Same with the facial hair – a while back it got mentioned a lot but there are loads of male players now with beards – it’s losing its novelty.
You’ve recently started renting a flat in The Heatons. Are you a bit of a home bird?
I lived in London for nearly three years but it never felt like home. I think with the amount of travelling I do it’s important to touch base when I’m in this country. I’m close to my family and have great friends locally as well as good places to train so it makes sense. And yes of course, I love The Heatons.
When you are home where do you like to hang out with your friends?
I’ve been in Tusk a lot recently [we’re in Tusk for our interview] and The Liz, Thom’s, Town Bar. Sometimes Cassidy’s on Shaw Road or we might go into Manchester.
And finally: what are your plans for the future – could you be the next Andy Murray?
Ha Ha! I think I have to believe that I could. I have to play as though I’m heading towards being Wimbledon champion. You need that confidence and belief and drive in order to progress. I’ve got this once in a lifetime experience and I’m enjoying the travelling and the life I lead, so I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I am just really focused on the tennis.
For more info on Liam or sponsorship opportunities visit www.liambroady.co.uk