Britain’s Jamie Murray has come out in support of the doubles game, calling it the ‘bedrock’ of amateur tennis.
Last month, Marion Bartoli caused quite a stir by questioning doubles’ place on the tennis tour.
“Why don’t you get some of that money to the qualifier players, to someone who is playing only the Challengers? I just don’t understand because in doubles, you just don’t make the same effort as a singles player,” the 2013 Wimbledon women’s singles champion had said.
Talking to Tennis Channel, the 34-year-old Murray, said, “For people at home watching, doubles is what they primarily play. It’s the bedrock of amateur tennis. People can relate to it more.”
“From when I started on the tour in 2007 to where it is now, the doubles game has grown so much,” said Murray, a former world no 1 in doubles.
“Fan support, awareness of the players, and the level has improved. The approach has changed, there are more options to be successful in doubles. That also makes it interesting because you get a clash of styles. I think getting the Masters 1000s on TV was a big step for the doubles game.”
Mixed doubles success
Even as Jamie, elder brother to Andy Murray, has won two men’s doubles Grand Slam title, he has found greater success in mixed doubles, winning five majors in the event.
In fact, he was the first from the Murray family to win a Wimbledon title, when he claimed the mixed doubles title in 2007 in the company of Jelena Jankovic.
“My skill set is good for mixed doubles,” he said.
“A lefty serve can be very difficult for the women to deal with, because it’s not a serve they see as often on the WTA tour. My serve has a lot of junk on it; it’s moving around, gets up high. They don’t really face it, so it’s difficult to get a grasp on it. And then there’s my net coverage and ability to cover the court.”
Murray will soon be seen in action in the Battle of the Brits exhibition event (from June 23-28, 2020) but may not return to the tour before the clay swing begins.
“Potentially I could be just going over to New York for the US Open,” he told Sky Sports this week. “I don’t know, for one tournament, maybe I am better to stay in Europe and then train for four-five weeks on clay.”
According to the revised ATP calendar, the Citi Open in Washington will be the first event since the five-month break owing to the coronavirus outbreak. The Cincinnati Masters and the US Open will be held at Flushing Meadows before the tour hits the red dirt.