The tennis audience is typically quite a sophisticated bunch – they know when to applaud, when to be quiet, when to yell their ‘vamoses’ and ‘allez’ and when to stay put.
But there is one particular moment when all protocol and etiquette jumps out the window and that is when a player takes off his shirt to put on a dry one. Whistles and screams immediately ensue no matter where the tournament is taking place.
Dubai is no exception and when Murray changed his shirt on Tuesday during a visit by the physio to his opponent Malek Jaziri, the crowd erupted.
I asked Murray what goes through his mind when that happens.
“Yeah, it doesn’t happen that often,” he said with a self-deprecating smile.
“I mean, it’s obviously happened pretty much every time, you know, any player does it. You know, the crowd find it amusing, and so long as they’re entertained, that’s the most important thing. But it’s a bit embarrassing for the players.”
“Pull down your pants”
The world No1 was in a humorous mood after his win over Jaziri on Tuesday night and he shared with us how he found out he had shingles earlier this month. It involves him pulling down his pants in front of his mother-in-law.
“Well, like I had a little bit of a rash basically like on my bum ’round to kind of my stomach, and it wasn’t, like, terrible. But then, you know, normally like if you have like a little bit of a rash and you scratch it, it feels better. But with that, it was, like, really, really painful,” he said of the illness.
“I didn’t think much of it at the beginning, and then it was actually my wife’s mum, we were having dinner, and I was, like ‘this is really irritating’.
“She was, like, ‘Pull your pants down, show me. It might be shingles,” the Scot added as the room burst into laughter. “I was, like, ‘Okay’.
“Then the next day got a doctor, and she was right. Yeah, I think her son Scott had had it, so she had seen it before.
“It’s quite strange, because it comes in like an arc and it doesn’t go past like the center of your body. It stays on one side. I kind of like knew when I read about it, I was like, actually, Yeah, it clearly is that. And the doctor confirmed it the next day.”
I’m happy to report that the rash is now gone, according to Murray.