Jamie Murray thinks brother Andy’s decision to miss the French Open and focus on the start of the grass court season next month is the right call.
Britain’s greatest-ever tennis player Sir Andy, 34, has been struggling with a groin injury and is now focusing on being ready for Queen’s in mid-June or possibly even the Nottingham Open – on the lower-level ATP Challenger Tour – the week before.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has played only 11 Tour-level matches since winning the European Open in October 2019, following his comeback from career-extending hip resurfacing surgery.
Lockdown, a bout of Covid, plus pelvic and groin problems have all stopped him putting a consistent run together, but it is hoped, by focusing on grass, he will be able to play singles at Wimbledon – where he has twice been champion – for the first time since 2017.
Jamie said: “I think it was probably the smartest thing to do. I think to train to play one week on clay and then to have to change to play on grass wasn’t ideal for him.
“He’ll probably have better preparation now for the grass court tournaments.
“He wants to get a good run at all the events he’s going to be playing in.”
The elder Murray brother, a multiple Slam winner in doubles and mixed doubles, was in Aberdeen today to have a look round P&J Live.
Aberdeen’s state-of-the-art arena will play host to Battle of the Brits – Scotland v England on December 21 and 22 this year, with the Murrays leading the home side.
Tournament director Jamie said seeing the “amazing” venue for the first time had only intensified his excitement for the two-day, three-session tennis extravaganza – the first time the siblings have played in Aberdeen since 2006.
He has been pleased with how the event has been received since it was announced in February, with tickets in high demand.
Jamie said: “I’ve seen a lot in drawings and that sort of stuff, but it was important to come up and see it in person, first-hand and get a good feel for the venue and what we can do to make it as good an experience for everyone that’s coming as possible.
“We had a great reaction straight off the bat. We sold a tonne of tickets the first two or three days they were on sale, so it was good to see there was a big appetite for the event and tennis in Scotland.
“Like I said before, me and Andy are super excited to get the opportunity to play in Scotland, and to come back and play in Aberdeen after a long time.”
Jamie optimistic over ‘full house’
While Wimbledon late next month is expected to host 25% the normal amount of fans, Jamie remains optimistic P&J Live will be able to be full by the end of the year.
He said: “It was cool to see the FA Cup final last week with loads of fans in. Some of the football games on TV in midweek had something like 10,000 fans in as well, which is great.
“It’s great to have a bit of atmosphere at these sporting events, because it’s become a bit sterile to be honest.
“For Wimbledon, right now it’s at 25% (capacity) and they’re hoping for more. That’s obviously up to the government, but we’re hoping here, by December, things will have moved along a lot and we’ll have a full house to play in front of.”
The England team at the event in Aberdeen will be led by current British number one Dan Evans, who will be joined by Grand Slam doubles champion Joe Salisbury. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie is going to be on Team Scotland with Jamie and Sir Andy.
Other players are still to be confirmed for the event.
Jamie, who is looking for “better results” with doubles partner Bruno Soares during a “big stretch” including Roland Garros and the grass season, knows the public’s excitement for the event will reach fever pitch if all the players involved come in to the Battle of the Brits at the end of a successful 2021.
He said: “We are waiting on a couple of guys, but the line-ups are shaping up pretty good and we’re excited for the battle.
“Yes, definitely (players getting big results during the season will boost the event). Cam’s been on a great run, he’ll be getting close to a career-high ranking now and beat Dominic Thiem on Thursday in straight sets, which is the biggest win of his career.
“He’s trending in the right direction, winning matches on the Tour every week, which isn’t easy to do.
“Dan Evans has been having a great year and beat Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo.
“The grass season coming up as well will be big for him.
“It seems like all the guys will be coming in in a lot of form.”