June 26, 2020
Tournament Director Jamie Murray has reached the doubles final at the Battle of the Brits.
He couldn’t be happier after he and partner Neal Skupski edged Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara 7-6, 2-6, 10-8.
Now they face Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool in the showpiece on Saturday night – having beaten them already two days earlier.
Evans – the man who vowed to reduce Jamie to wearing a suit for the business end of the tournament by knocking him out.
That trash-talk has backfired so far. We will see who has the last laugh.
‘If I can get him twice in a week that will be brilliant stuff,’ laughed Murray.
And remember, Evans has to face Andy Murray in the singles semi-final first.
It’s a tall order for the feisty West Midlander. But maybe not as tall an order as Jamie originally faced.
It’s not easy to stage and star in the same show. But Jamie Murray has managed it.
The man who organised the Battle of the Brits had a satisfied smile on his face as he reflected on the week so far.
We have been saying from the start that we should all be cheering for Jamie as much as Andy Murray.
After all, it is Jamie who has brought British tennis back to life here.
It is Jamie who got the best British players together for what has proved to be a thrilling week.
When he lost his first match on the first day, you could almost put it down to off-court distractions.
But as soon he saw his tournament running smoothly, the elder Murray brother moved into tennis overdrive.
He explained how easy it has been to wear two hats as Tournament Director and a star doubles player.
‘You know after the first day it has been fine because everything ran smoothly that first day and so it’s been fun from there.
‘I hope the fans at home are enjoying it all. You can see the passion and fire on the court. It’s cool, it’s a different dynamic.’
It has been very cool. Tennis stripped down to its bare essentials.
It’s not Wimbledon of course. The glamour, the history, the theatrical beauty of Centre Court.
We will have to wait for Wimbledon 2021 to enjoy the greatest tennis tournament of them all.
But let’s face it, Jamie Murray has brought tennis lovers a new kind of joy and very welcome it has been, too.
Like his brother Andy, Jamie is exhausted though. The initial mental demands and then the daily battles on court.
‘I’m absolutely knackered and I need the coldest ice-bath ever,’ he beamed after his latest victory.
On Saturday, both the Murray brothers take centre stage at different times.
Let’s face it. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.