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Tennis ace Andy Murray praises girlfriend Kim Sears for 'understanding'

By Katie Hodge and Ellen Branagh

Scotland's Andy Murray has spoken fondly of his girlfriend, Kim Sears, and said their relationship works well because she "really understands" his sport.

The 26-year-old tennis ace has been dating the artist for nearly eight years except for a short break after the couple moved in together.

After his famous victory, he batted away questions over whether an engagement was imminent, saying: "I haven't thought about that yet."

But yesterday he disclosed that Miss Sears, the daughter of tennis coach Nigel Sears, copes well with the strain placed on their partnership by the demands of his career.

His remarks are likely to fuel speculation that the couple may soon tie the knot.

"One thing that, I think, really helps with her is that she really understands the sport because she has been around it from a young age," Murray said.

"She was used to her dad travelling on the Tour when she was a kid so she knew what it was like to have that sort of distant relationship and that's obviously helped a lot.

"It's been seven, coming up to eight years pretty much – bar a few months in the middle – we've been together. It's been a long time."

Miss Sears (25) regularly takes a seat courtside to support Murray.

On Sunday, she looked on anxiously from the players' box before leaping to her feet in delight when her boyfriend claimed the title he has coveted for so long.

Wearing a mint green dress, she appeared to fight back tears as Murray snatched victory from world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Yesterday morning, Murray admitted that the couple had tucked up with their beloved dogs – named Maggie May and Rusty – for the night.

Miss Sears has been described by Murray's mother as "the best thing to happen to Andy".

Judy Murray, once a professional player herself, had wept as Murray snatched victory from his Serbian opponent.

The proud mother said she was an "emotional wreck" following his win but added: "I feel very proud of him. That has just got to be the best feeling ever, to watch your son win Wimbledon."

Mrs Murray, who is one of the country's top coaches and captain of the Fed Cup team, is a regular fixture courtside. The 53-year-old who taught both the British No.1 and his brother, Jamie, as juniors, said she was "shaking" throughout the game.

But she said she had a "good feeling" about her son's chances ahead of the match.

"This is the thing he has talked about winning since he was a little boy and of course it was a dream that has suddenly become a reality for him," she said.

Murray leapt into the player's box to embrace his "great team" following his win.

He threw his arms around Miss Searsbut then turned away, apparently forgetting his mother. Moments later he retraced his steps and embraced her.

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