FRONT PAGE: Softer image for Andy Murray

A new PR strategy has played a key part in thawing Andy Murray's often frosty relationship with the media, according to industry insiders.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

The Scottish tennis star is well known for making anti-English comments and losing his temper on court, and is said to be sullen with journalists. But after taking on Stuart Higgins Communications earlier this year, there are signs that the public is now warming to him following a media relations offensive.

Murray has been appearing on talk shows including the One Show and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and asking the crowd to get behind him. Headlines have been more positive such as The Independent's recent ‘More than 10 million TV viewers won over by Murray'.

Phil Hall Associates' eponymous founder said that Higgins had helped to ‘bring down barriers and build bridges' with the media, particularly with previously hostile outlets such as the BBC and the Daily Mail. Ex-News of the World editor Hall said the strategy has helped Murray to come across as a more rounded individual.

The Independent on Sunday's tennis correspondent Ron Atkinson agreed. He said: ‘Murray has been making more of an effort to get the public on side. There has been a big difference, particularly in his attitude at press conferences. He is less antagonistic and has a more relaxed view on life.'

But Max Clifford Associates founder Max Clifford argued that there was still ‘an awful lot of catching up to do' if Murray was to rival Tim Henman in the popularity stakes.

He argued that most of the recent press has ‘been about euphoria based on an amazing victory' and that it ‘hasn't even scratched the surface' of repairing his image problem.

‘Murray is in very capable hands, but he has an uphill struggle ahead to win people's hearts and minds', he said.

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