Mur­ray launches Bri­tish mixed team event but queries lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion over restart of men’s tour in US

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Si­mon Briggs TEN­NIS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Bri­tain’s lat­est tour­na­ment im­pre­sario, Jamie Mur­ray, an­nounced a new event yes­ter­day – Bat­tle of the Brits Team Ten­nis – while ques­tion­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion around next month’s planned re­sump­tion of the of­fi­cial men’s tour in the United States.

It is three weeks since the US Open con­firmed that it planned to go ahead on its orig­i­nal dates, start­ing on Aug 31. At that time, the num­ber of Covid-19 cases re­ported in the New York area had dipped en­cour­ag­ingly. But they have not dwin­dled away com­pletely, and there are nu­mer­ous new hotspots flar­ing up across the US.

No­vak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have made re­cent com­ments which sug­gest they are un­likely to at­tend the US Open, while Roger Fed­erer has ruled him­self out for the rest of the 2020 sea­son af­ter a sec­ond key­hole op­er­a­tion on his right knee.

As for the el­der Mur­ray, he was asked whether he would con­sider miss­ing the US Open and stay­ing in Europe to play the two sched­uled clay-court Masters events – Madrid and Rome – be­fore the French Open is due to start on Sept 27.

He said: “It seems like a less stress­ful op­tion right now. It seems they have re­gressed in the States, and there are a lot more cases com­ing up again. For me, it would be re­ally nice to say, ‘OK, on this day, tour­na­ments are start­ing, these are the con­di­tions we are play­ing un­der’. But the US Open has changed their con­di­tions quite a lot.

“It’s un­der­stand­able as it’s a fluid sit­u­a­tion and things can change all the time. But we are ob­vi­ously hop­ing for bet­ter. There have been a lot of things chang­ing with not that fan­tas­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, I’d say.”

Mur­ray has al­ready scored a sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess with his men-only Bat­tle of the Brits. Now he plans to as­sem­ble 12 men and 12 women, split into two mixed-gen­der teams, for a sec­ond tour­na­ment at Roe­hamp­ton’s Na­tional Ten­nis Cen­tre, to be played be­hind closed doors from July 27 to Aug 2.

Asked about the plans of Bri­tain’s two high­est-pro­file play­ers – his brother Andy and Jo­hanna Konta – Mur­ray said: “They like the idea and in­tend to play as long as fit­ness is there. I need our top play­ers in­tend­ing to play to put these events on. Other­wise it doesn’t work.”

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