Andy Murray has opened up on his heartache at being away from his family for extended periods, revealing he will miss two of his children’s birthdays this week due to playing commitments.
The three-time grand slam champion is playing at the Swiss Indoors in Basel this week, but would much rather be at home with his young family.
Murray and wife Kim Sears have four children together, all under the age of four.
“My second oldest daughter and my son both have birthdays during this week, and it’s something I don’t want to miss because I want to be there for them as much as possible,” he said in Basel.
“It’s very hard for me. In the summer, for example, I was in the USA for five weeks. That’s too long for me.”
Murray said his eldest children are at an age where they are starting to realise when he’s gone.
“Our kids are at an age now where they realise I’m gone,” he said.
“I feel bad when I’m gone for a long time. It breaks my heart.”
The 35-year-old revealed he will manage his schedule next year to ensure he isn’t away from home for lengthy periods.
“On the other hand, it’s my job. My wife, family and I have been talking about how I want to play next year, because I don’t want that to happen again,” he said.
“It’s difficult to balance that. I will do things that are not the best for tennis, but my first priority will also be family.”
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka roll back the years
Murray and Stan Wawrinka have both rolled back the years in Switzerland, earning contrasting victories in the opening round of the Swiss Indoors tournament.
Wawrinka booked his place in the last 16 with an impressive 6-4 6-4 won over No.2 seed Casper Ruud, while Murray rallied from a set down to beat Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin.
Wawrinka, 37, is now ranked 194 in the world but backed by a home crowd he defeated the Norwegian who was a finalist in the French and US Opens.
He will play American Brandon Nakashima In the last 16.
Murray, who is on the hunt for the ranking points he needs to gain a top-32 seeding for the Australian Open, came through 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4.
It was the 35-year-old Scot’s 26th tour-level win of the year, his best return since 2016.
Murray, whose only previous appearance at the tournament came as a teenager in 2005, dug deep over two hours and 38 minutes, finishing with a flourish to take five games in a row and win the final set from 1-4 down.
“As the match went on, I started to dictate a few more points and served better,” the former World No.1, now ranked 49th, said.
“I changed the way I was returning a little bit and when I did that I was able to create a few more opportunities and frustrate him.”
Murray next meets sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who overcame Serbian qualifier Laslo Djere 6-4 6-1.
Should Wawrinka and Murray win their second-round matches they will meet in the quarter-finals.