By Giri Nathan
Andy Murray has made a mistake even direr than the handlebar mustache he sported last week in San Diego. It all started with foot sweat.
Last time the world was fixated on Andy Murray’s foot sweat, it was because he had soaked through his sneakers at the US Open so badly that he was slip ’n’ sliding through his first-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas. He angrily stripped off his socks and ankle braces, chewed out his player’s box for not bringing him backups, and attempted to dry out his kicks with those air hoses that players use to cool off during changeovers. That may well have cost Murray a few pivotal points in a match he went on to lose in five sets. If that were not bad enough, this time Murray’s sweltering little piggies appeared to have cost him more than just a tennis match, as he revealed in a video on Wednesday night.
While practicing in the 90-degree temperatures of Indian Wells on Tuesday, Murray soaked his tennis shoes deeply enough that they stunk up his car and demanded to be aired out. Because he did not want to bring the funk into his room, and because his room lacked a balcony, he left the shoes under his car. One would think that Andy Murray is rich and resourceful enough to access either (a) a hotel room big enough not to be befouled by a single pair of sneakers, no matter how sweaty, or (b) an outdoor space more secure than the pavement underneath his car. But I digress. When Murray returned to the car in the morning, his shoes were no more. So he went off to the pro shop to buy more shoes—not ideal, but not so big a deal.
At practice on Wednesday, his physio asked him, “Where’s your wedding ring?” When he’s on court, so as not to impede his racquet-gripping fingers, Murray has made a well-documented habit of threading his wedding ring into his…tennis shoes. So whoever took those shoes was also taking, perhaps unwittingly, the symbol of his sacred union to Kim Sears. Murray said that he was “in the bad books at home” for losing his ring, and pleaded to the world for any tips on its whereabouts.
But then this saga resolved itself before I’d even finished writing it up. On Thursday evening, Murray posted another video: “Had to make a few calls today and chat with the security at the hotel,” he said, before lifting up his sneaker to inhale its earthy bouquet, with the ring safely secured to a lace. We’re going to need more details, Andy! Did someone bring the orphaned shoes to the front desk? Did the shoe thief feel remorse when they realized how accidentally lucrative their theft had been? Did you actually just leave your shoes somewhere else? “They still absolutely stink, but the shoes are back, the wedding ring is back, and I’m back in the good books. Let’s go!” said the happy Scot. If this happened to be an elaborate ruse by your team to get the juices flowing for your first-round match, I would not think it stupid.
Above: Andy Murray’s temporarily, upsettingly ringless shoes in Indian Wells. (Getty)