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