No love match: Andy Murray splits with girlfriend who followed him on tennis tours around the world
By Malcolm Folley
Last updated at 8:58 AM on 29th November 2009
Comments (73) Add to My Stories Tennis star Andy Murray has ended his four-year relationship with student Kim Sears.
Kim, 21, has moved out of the £5million mansion they shared in Surrey and returned home to her parents.
Her face became familiar to millions of tennis fans worldwide, especially at Wimbledon, where TV cameras picked up the emotion written on her face as she cheered him from the stands.
Love lost: Friends suggest cracks began to show about the time that Kim accompanied Andy to the US Open Championships in New York in September
A friend said: ‘No one else is involved. Both Andy and Kim are saddened that the relationship is over, but they mutually felt it was time for them to part.
'They are both very young, and it is not unusual for young people to split up.’
Friends suggest cracks began to show about the time that Kim accompanied Murray to the US Open Championships in New York in September.
Murray’s friend said of their subsequent split: ‘There were no blazing rows, or anything like that. Kim left Andy’s house under amicable circumstances. They are still in contact with one another and remain good friends.
Missing: While Murray's mother Judy watched him play in London last week, Kim was absent
‘After all, Kim has been an extremely important part of Andy’s life, and they always spent as much time together as they could.’
Last week Murray, a 22-year-old multi-millionaire ranked No.4 in the world, played his first major tournament – the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London – without Kim present to support him.
Murray, who shared top billing with world No.1 Roger Federer, was watched by his mother, Judy, and ‘Team Murray’ – his coaches, trainers and physiotherapist. But Kim was at her parents’ home in West Sussex.
Murray was surprisingly eliminated in the round-robin stage – and yesterday he was unwilling to comment on the sadness in his private life. ‘Both Andy and Kim are very private people,’ said his friend.
Yet only this summer Murray emphasised that he placed family and friends above his career. Having seen his own parents, Judy and Will, divorce when he was a teenager, Murray stressed: ‘I work better in a relationship.
‘At the end of the day, especially if I’ve lost a match, I don’t like talking about tennis, so it’s nice to have someone to talk to about other stuff.
‘As I have got older, having gone through my parents’ divorce, it has become important to me to work hard at having a successful relationship. I found the divorce difficult.
'Tennis is important to me, but it’s not the most important thing. My family and friends are more important. The job obviously matters, but what goes on off the court is bigger.’
Eliminated: Andy Murray crashed out of the ATP World Tour Finals this week without Kim there to support him
Kim, who is studying English at Brighton University, was Murray’s first serious girlfriend.
Her father Nigel is head of women’s tennis in Britain and has been involved in the game all his life, so Kim appreciated the demands the profession placed on Murray.
Unlike other WAGs, she refused to become famous for simply being the girlfriend of a sports star.
‘It’s not about me, it’s about Andy,’ she said, whenever asked to discuss their relationship. She happily melted into the shadows – something Murray liked.
Yet Kim was credited with having played a significant role in improving Murray’s image and appearance over the past 18 months.
She encouraged him to abandon his shaggy-dog look in favour of a sharp, modern haircut.
She willingly did Murray’s laundry, and when he chose to move from his penthouse in Wandsworth to his Surrey mansion in the week before Wimbledon, she loyally helped transport his belongings so his preparation was not disturbed.
During Wimbledon, where Murray reached the semi-finals before losing to American Andy Roddick, she shared his new house with him and his mother.
‘Kim has been a great support,’ said Judy. ‘She even helped with his laundry. The best thing she did was cut his hair – he needed it.’
Murray, winner of six tournaments this year, is widely predicted to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam championship since Fred Perry over 70 years ago.
In the next week, he will fly to Miami to train for the Australian Open in mid-January. He is not returning home for Christmas, opting to travel straight to Perth to take part in an exhibition tournament in the New Year.
Yesterday Kim’s mother confirmed that her daughter had split from Murray.
Asked if it was true, Leonore Sears said at the family home in Barcombe, near Lewes, West Sussex: ‘Yes, but I am not going to comment on it.’