Tennis star Andy Murray has revealed he knew the man who shot 16 children and their teacher dead at his primary school in the 1990s.

Opening up about his turbulent childhood in the new Amazon documentary Andy Murray: Resurfacing, the 32-year-old said the shooting had been "difficult" for him and tennis was a way he could "escape" from his bottled up feelings.

Murray was a student at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland when gunman Thomas Hamilton stormed into the gymnasium carrying four handguns and 743 rounds of ammunition and opened fire.

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Teacher Gwen Mayor and 15 of her kindergarten students were killed instantly, while another child later died in hospital.


Fifteen others were also wounded in the massacre, which took Hamilton just five minutes to carry out before turning the gun on himself.

Thomas Hamilton opened fire on a class of five and six-year-olds. Photos / News Corp Australia/AP
Thomas Hamilton opened fire on a class of five and six-year-olds. Photos / News Corp Australia/AP

It was later revealed that Hamilton had been an assistant Boy Scouts leader as a young man, but had been asked to leave following complaints about his behaviour towards some of the boys.

He then organised several boys clubs, which Murray attended as a child, where he would teach the kids gymnastics, shooting and other sports.

But soon those clubs were shut down as well.

Murray was uninjured in the shooting and has previously spoken about attending Hamilton's kids clubs, but it was not known how well he knew the gunman personally.

"You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me. Obviously I had the thing that happened at Dunblane when I was around nine," Murray says in the documentary. He reportedly left his thoughts in a voicemail for director Olivia Cappuccini rather than have the emotional conversation face-to-face.

"I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons. The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things," he said.

Teacher Gwen Mayor with her Primary One class. Photo / News Corp Australia
Teacher Gwen Mayor with her Primary One class. Photo / News Corp Australia

Murray said his parents then divorced within 12 months of the shooting, and his brother, with whom he used to do everything, soon moved away to play tennis at Cambridge.


"My feeling towards tennis is that it's an escape for me in some ways. Because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up," he revealed.

The three-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one is hoping to make a full comeback at the Australian Open next year after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in January.

"Feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain," he said in an Instagram post at the time.

The injury had threatened to end his career and he was planning to retire after Wimbledon.

But he told reporters before the release of the documentary that he was working on building up his fitness and hoped to soon be able to endure gruelling five-set matches.

"I know I'll be able to compete in major tournaments without having to worry about it," he said.

"I've played three-set matches and some long ones recently, but the best of five is an extra hour, hour-and-a-half on top of that so I'll find out in Australia."

The documentary explores Murray's journey towards recovery and the sportsman says he can't wait for fans to see it.

"No matter how many times I break down, there is always a little piece of me that says no you're not done yet, get back up," he wrote on Instagram on Monday.

"I'm not usually one for cheesy quotes and I don't know who said it but this one resonates with me.

"This is a story of my journey of the last two years … I hope you all enjoy it."