JUDY Murray gave a fascinating insight to the hard knocks school of raising not one, but two tennis champions as the county town's celebration of books rounded off a smashing first day.

The Scot was in conversation with Alexandra Heminsley, ghost writer of Judy's autobiography Knowing the Score.

A packed-out auditorium listened in awe as Judy told how she taught future two-time Wimbledon champion Andy and his older brother, future doubles number one Jamie, the game of tennis by introducing them to 'cereal box tennis'.

This involved old biscuit tins used as bats, a cereal box for the net and 25p ping pong balls.

The young boys would also hit balloons across the sofa to each other and when Andy discovered it was easier to hit the balloon with his left hand, he had pulled off his first back hand, Judy told us.

Although softly spoken, Judy's tenacity and grit came across. She had the audience enraptured by her anecdotes as she told how she gave up her job as a sales rep when Andy was born, and with it, her company car.

Life wasn't easy. The Murray brothers were involved in junior competitions and were invited to compete in a tournament in France. But GB tennis was, and still is, London-centric and Judy had to finance airfares for the boys to take them to Heathrow to meet the minibus which would take the junior team to the tournament.

She recalled: "They were really excited to go to France but it was the cost of it. I thought 'imagine if this happens a few times a year' I wanted them to have every opportunity there was but the disadvantage of being in Scotland was it was so expensive when everything was centred around England."

Andy made it through to the semi-finals of the French tournament, Judy said, where he faced and was beaten by 'this French guy called Gael Monfils' - Andy's future rival on the ATP tour.

Jamie got through to the final and beat Monfils, after which - Judy recalled - Andy said: 'You only won because I tired him out!'.

Amidst the amusing anecdotes about the Murray brothers' competitiveness, there was plenty of serious conversation, particularly about Judy's fight to raise the profile of women's tennis.

Judy, a coach in her own right, told how, as captain for GB's Federation Cup team (the women's equivalent of the men's Davis Cup), she struggled to get resources for the team, which counted Heather Watson and Johanna Konta among its players.

Judy said: "When we played in Israel it was like being in a club match. There was no-one there to support us. I had to try and create a buzz about us. I'd be sending pictures of us in our team dresses to Hello magazine hoping they might be used.

"Everyone knew what the Davis Cup was but the Federation Cup was way down there. As the captain there was no opportunity to blow anyone away.

"I had to fight for a video analyst to join our team. The Davis Cup team had 19 people on the bench and we were fighting for a fourth person."

Judy also offered her thoughts on how girls and women can be encouraged to play all sports, not just tennis.

Identifying the problem as girls giving up tennis when they reach a certain age, she said: "We need to create a social environment in which girls can thrive. Clubs need to do things like girls' only events because girls and boys are very different at the same age. As they go through puberty the boys get much bigger and stronger and the girls can feel intimidated."

With that twinkle in her eye, an infectious laugh and some occasional swearing, you get the feeling that Judy would be fantastic company to enjoy a drink with. But she proved herself to be just as comfortable on stage at this, the last event of her book promotion tour, with she and Alexandra admitting to having that 'end of school year feeling'.

We were left with that feeling of wanting more as Judy's final answer in the Q&A session about her time on Strictly Come Dancing had us in stitches.

She recalled how her pro partner Anton du Beke planned their dance to Mull of Kintyre, requesting a grassy hillock, pipers and a kilt with 'a hairy handbag'.

Despite Judy's sporting ability, her dancing skills were limited, or 'crap', as she put it. So she told us that Anton also requested 'lots of dry ice - dry ice going up to neck height'.

No wonder there was a queue snaking around the auditorium of people waiting to get Judy's book signed.

In our short but sweet time with her we got to know the many sides of Judy Murray, a formidable, determined coach, a supportive and loving mother and a woman with a wickedly funny sense of humour.

*Dorchester Literary Festival continues until Sunday with talks from Joanna Trollope, Vince Cable, Orla Kiely and Peter Snow to come this weekend. See