Jamie Murray has hailed his brother’s impact on tennis in Scotland as the pair bid to capitalise on their legacy at the upcoming Battle of the Brits tournament. Created by Jamie, the event will see Andy compete in front of a home crowd alongside fellow British talents like Dan Evans and Jack Draper, and the former doubles world No 1 has explained exactly how much his brother has done for the sport in their home nation.
Andy and Jamie Murray will compete in front of a home crowd at the Battle of the Brits later this month, with the three-time Major champion playing all three sessions in Aberdeen on December 21 and 22. The tournament was originally scheduled for the same dates in 2021 but they were forced to cancel just days before because of Covid, and the elder Murray brother said it was important for both men to return 12 months later as he admitted the country had been unable to capitalise on their successes.
“Well I think for us, we want to keep trying to grow the sport and that’s obviously one way of doing that – bringing major events to Scotland,” Jamie said, speaking exclusively to Express Sport ahead of the fourth edition of Battle of the Brits. “We obviously don’t have any regular, live, annual tennis events going on in the country and I think it’s important that we bring tennis to the people and give them the chance to see world class tennis in person on their doorstep.”
The brothers will also play doubles together during the tournament for the first time since 2019, and it will be the first time they are both playing in Scotland since 2015 – the year Britain made the Davis Cup final and went on to win. And Jamie continued to stress the importance of playing in front of a home crowd as he added: “I think from our point of view, we’ve had amazing experiences playing in Scotland but really it’s been few and far between across sort of the last 15, 16 years of our careers playing at the top level so we wanted to create those opportunities and just have more opportunities to play in Scotland.”
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The two-time men’s doubles Grand Slam champion was “sad” to see opportunities to promote the sport in Scotland wasted during the peak of his and Andy’s careers as he explained how much his brother had done for the sport. “I just think he obviously played at the top level in probably the hardest era ever of men’s tennis and was part of that Big Four for so long and was always competing in the latter stages of the biggest events in tennis,” Jamie continued.
“So he created a massive interest in the sport where there wouldn’t have been before I don’t think, got so many people wanting to try tennis, pick up a racket and try obviously whatever and I think unfortunately the country just wasn’t in the position and really still isn’t to welcome those kids or even parents, whoever, that want to pick up a racket and play. It just wasn’t ready for that and I think that’s kind of sad for us in a way because while we’re doing it, we’re playing, that’s the opportunity right there.”
With Jamie now 36 and ranked at No 36 in doubles while Andy is 35 and the singles world No 49, the Battle of the Brits creator said time was running out to make the most of their impact in tennis and bring the sport to Scotland. “When we stop playing, whenever that is, that chance will go away unfortunately and we’re obviously getting older,” he added.
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“I don’t know how long he’s planning to play for but it’s not exactly going to be another five to ten years so that’s what’s difficult but he got a whole nation behind him in his quest to win a Grand Slam, in his quest to win Wimbledon. It was amazing times and to be able to live that with him and be so close to it was amazing and he’s done incredible things on a tennis court, hopefully he can still do more in the coming years but I guess this is our way, something that we can control that at least kind of getting to play in Scotland and say thanks to all the people for their support over the years.”
As well as the Murray brothers, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Paul Jubb and Aiden McHugh will also be in action with Johnny O’Mara, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski playing the doubles. As the tournament director, Jamie said it was Evans that he was most excited to watch as a spectator, with the world No 27 set to face young Scottish talent McHugh on Day One.
“I think it will be interesting for me to see how Aiden deals with playing against Evo as well, I’m sure Dan will be getting in his face a bit and making life difficult for him so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with that,” he laughed. The 36-year-old was also excited to pair up with his brother for the first time in six years, in what will be the final match of the two-day event.
“Obviously it will be fun to play doubles with Andy again, it’s been a long time and especially in Scotland so I’m looking forward to that a lot,” Jamie added. “I hope [the crowd] are looking forward to it, I hope they enjoy it. As I said before we’ve had so much support throughout our whole careers, it’s been incredible really and kind of people we meet and stories we get from them and stuff, it’s amazing and it’s very humbling. That’s what the event is for, for those people to come out and get to watch us play live on their doorstep in their own country.”
Tickets for the first two sessions of Battle of the Brits are still available to purchase.