12 Jul 2017

From playing truant to attending the best finishing school

News Article

By Clive White

Photo: Susan MullaneAidan McHugh (GBR)

WIMBLEDON: When he was very young Aidan McHugh would happily miss a week’s school so that he could sneak into the stadium whenever Great Britain was playing a Davis Cup tie and watch his heroes train.

 Now the young Scot is practising with them and getting words of encouragement from Andy Murray before his matches in the boys’ singles, which apparently were enough to help him reach the third round on Wednesday at the expense of the No6 seed Marko Miladinovic, of Serbia.

The ribbing he gets from the Murray brothers is a small price to pay for the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the business.

McHugh hit with Murray a few times before the world No1’s matches at these Championships and said that it was hugely beneficial to him to be able to take the tempo of their rallying into his matches.

“I’ve known Jamie from a while ago but I’ve got know Andy better at this tournament,” said McHugh. “It’s great to be around him in general just to see how he prepares. He’s just completely relaxed. He does everything right and then is able to focus on the other stuff.

“It’s still a massive tournament for him but he’s done this so many times already. It’s just another week and he’s preparing in the same way that he always does. It’s just nice to see that they’re exactly the same as anyone else, it’s reassuring.

“He’s very funny, a lot of people don’t realise that. Both him and Jamie are constantly at it. They’re both very similar but Andy tends to go for weaknesses. He just picks apart any weakness in your character. It’s just harmless fun.

“As soon as you say one thing that you shouldn’t have said, whether it was a bad comment or a bad observation on anything he just picks up on it and won’t let it go for weeks on end.”

McHugh’s match against Miladinovic had to be suspended on Tuesday because of the rain with the score at 60 55 in the Briton’s favour but it meant for a potentially tricky restart on Wednesday. Playing in Scotland he said that he was used to constant interruptions because of the weather; he remembers once playing in hailstones.

“Andy spoke to me afterwards [on Tuesday evening] – I think he was watching it on the red button or something. He said it was good stuff so far and to just keep it up and go for it. That’s nice obviously. He and Jamie are constantly keeping an eye on some of the younger [British] players which is great.”

McHugh thinks that the British players are fortunate to have people of the quality of Andy and Jamie Murray and the wheelchair Wimbledon champion Gordon Reid in their corner.