After a couple of years in the tennis wilderness, when he struggled to find a regular partner and his ranking dipped to around the No 100 mark, Britain’s Jamie Murray – who won a Wimbledon title (mixed doubles) before his brother Andy – is closing in on a place in the eight-team season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. In an interview, Jamie tells how down he became at times and how much he is loving life again now.
Because of your outstanding form, a place in London is an outside possibility – how big of a goal is it for you this year?
“We really don’t think about it that much but then obviously we had a couple of good wins and people start talking about it a bit. We’d really need to have a good week this week to have a chance to qualify. We’ve played a lot of good tennis in these last couple of tournaments. If we keep winning, we’ll make it but it’s not really in our minds every time we go out on the court.
We’ll play together next year and the aim is to be one of the top teams and be in London next year. I’d sign for qualifying this year but it’s difficult for us to make it because the opportunities are so limited. Last week in Tokyo (when they made the final) was our first Masters 500 and this week is our first Masters 1000. We’ll have a lot more opportunities to play these tournaments next year, so that will make it easier.
Are you playing your best tennis right now?
I guess so. Certainly results have been good for a lot of this year, since May really, we’ve played a lot of good tennis. We’ve won a couple of tournaments. We’ll try to keep going. Confidence is up. It’s nice having that continuity and that brings calmness and relaxes you. I’ve certainly been enjoying it a lot more this year, which helps.
Over the past few years you had a number of partners and struggled. How down did you get?
I got pretty down. The last couple of years were pretty difficult at times. It was difficult not having a regular partner, turning up for tournaments and not knowing if you were going to play or who you would play with. It’s frustrating. I’m a lot happier now I’ve found a good partner. You feel like you’re working towards something, rather than just showing up.
Some people might not know much about John Peers. What’s he like?
He’s a really nice guy. We get on great. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s only a couple of years younger than me but I guess in tennis terms he’s a lot younger. When I started playing, he was still in college. He’s got a lot of energy and it’s great having someone so youthful. (laughs at suggestion he sounds old). It’s all new to him so he’s enjoying it a lot. We have different styles of play but I think that’s worked well for us, we have different ways to win points. It’s also to our advantage that he’s new – the other guys have not seen him much, so we have to take advantage of that now.
You’ve been sidelined in Davis Cup a little in recent times. Is getting back in the side a goal?
If I get picked, it would be great. But if I don’t then it’s not the end of the world. We play a lot of tennis during the year. As doubles players you can only contribute one point, and you spend all week preparing for that. The singles players have to get the points. We’ve got four or five good guys who can step in and play good doubles. It’s always fun to play for your country but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it (if I don’t get picked).