Film review: Andy Murray: Resurfacing
Written by Dave
“The reason for having an operation like that is not to play professional sport, it’s to have a better quality of life,” says Andy Murray in Andy Murray: Resurfacing. The former British number one and Wimbledon champion is talking in a press conference about his chronic hip injury – and his determination for it not to be a career-ending one.
Murray has long been portrayed in the media as a bit of a grumpus, but this intimate, frank documentary is remarkable for two reasons. First, it swiftly puts to bed any notion that Andy doesn’t have a sense of humour, and much of the charm of the film comes from simply seeing him relaxed and joking with his close circle of friends, family and fitness team. Second, the film is surprisingly dark and unflinching.
Where most sports documentaries trade off their access behind the scenes with a positive, uplifting portrayal of their subjects, Resurfacing joins Netflix’s Sunderland Til I Die in providing a completely unvarnished portrait of the challenges of professional sport. To get that access and portrait during a period of injury and recuperation is even rarer.
The most eye-opening moments are perhaps the surgeries and hospital scenes, which take Murray far from the grass court surroundings we’re used to seeing him in, but they’re intercut with more familiar vox pops from the tennis circuit, including Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. What emerges from those isn’t just an appreciation of Murray’s skills but of his work ethic – and that determination to do anything necessary to compete and win runs through every frame of this film.
Murray talks about tennis as being his job, with his main requirement being to fulfil his potential to the max. Director Olivia Cappuccini captures that attitude when he’s both on-guard and off-guard, weaving it into footage of him pushing himself during practices and smiling as he enjoys a stint of playing doubles tennis. The result isn’t uplifting in the conventional sense, but it’s a surprising, inspiring and affectionate snapshot of someone refusing to give up in the face of painful odds.