All eyes now turn to Jamie and his sec­ond best dou­bles part­ner

The Herald - Herald Sport - - DAVIS CUP -

HERE were a few laughs amongst the as­sem­bled ten­nis hacks in the US Open me­dia room last week when Jamie Mur­ray ca­su­ally men­tioned that in some ways his brother Andy wasn’t his ideal choice of dou­bles part­ner.

The 30-year-old ac­tu­ally finds it eas­ier to en­gage in on-court com­mu­ni­ca­tion with a man who was brought up 9000 miles away in Belo Hor­i­zonte, Brazil, than one who is the prod­uct of the same Dun­blane house­hold.

“Um, yeah … Prob­a­bly, yeah,” said Jamie, shortly after he and his part­ner Bruno Soares had com­pre­hen­sively beaten Pablo Car­reño Busta and Guillermo Gar­cía-López to claim the pair’s sec­ond ma­jor ti­tle win, and Jamie’s third in all. “We talk more.”

On closer re­flec­tion, the claim isn’t as sur­pris­ing as it would seem. Mur­ray and Soares are a com­mit­ted pair­ing who spend most days to­gether, sin­gle­minded when it comes to achiev­ing the same goals.

As in­stinc­tively as Jamie knows and un­der­stands his brother, theirs will for­ever be a part-time, ad hoc ar­range­ment. Un­less, that is, a vague goal to pos­si­bly play more to­gether on the tour as they get older comes to pass.

While Jamie ar­rives in Glas­gow this week as the only undis­puted dou­bles spe­cial­ist in ei­ther team, his ar­range­ment with his younger sib­ling tends to work best in the Davis Cup arena. Five times they have played to­gether – meet­ing both ob­scure names and house­hold ones – despatch­ing all five.

There was Lau­rent Bram and Mike Ver­meer of Lux­em­bourg back in 2011, Ni­co­las Mahut and Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga of France, Sam Groth and Lley­ton He­witt of Aus­tralia and Steve Dar­cis and David Gof­fin of Bel­gium on Bri­tain’s glory run of 2015, not to men­tion Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka and Ya­su­taka Uchiyama of Ja­pan ear­lier this year in Birm­ing­ham.

The need to ex­tend that record to an even half dozen has rarely been greater than it will be to­day, when os­ten­si­bly at least they will take on Ar­gen­tine duo Fed­erico Del­bo­nis and Leonardo Mayer in a rub­ber which Great Bri­tain sim­ply can­not af­ford to lose.

“From a per­sonal point of view, it’s su­per-ex­cit­ing for me to be play­ing here in Scot­land, to play in front of a packed­out house with the in­cred­i­ble at­mos­phere that I’m sure will be the same as last year,” said Jamie.

“We know it’s go­ing to be a very dif­fi­cult match against a re­ally tough team, but I think we’re all look­ing for­ward to get­ting out there and com­pet­ing an play­ing in front of so many peo­ple in such a noisy crowd.”

Over­all, the Mur­ray broth­ers have won 34 and lost 24 matches in all, hoover­ing up a cou­ple of tour events, one in Va­len­cia in Novem­ber 2010 and an­other in Tokyo in 2011, along the way. But Olympic play con­tin­ues to be a theatre of cru­elty.

While many top sin­gles play­ers also en­ter the dou­bles events at the Olympics, the Mur­rays have only won a soli­tary match in three at­tempts, the most re­cent dis­ap­point­ment com­ing in a first round de­feat to An­dre Sa and Thomaz Bel­lucci in two tight tie-break­ers in Rio.

The good news for Great Bri­tain, though, is that the form of their pro­vi­sional op­po­nents – as­sum­ing Daniel Or­sanic is as good as his word – is even more patchy. In eight tour events to­gether, Fed­erico Del­bo­nis and Leonardo Mayer have won just one match, iron­i­cally against Bri­tish squad mem­ber Dom In­glot and his then part­ner Treat Huey of the Philip­pines. They have yet to play a sin­gle Davis Cup rub­ber to­gether and most ob­servers will only be­lieve that will be Ar­gentina’s pair­ing when they walk out on court.

Dan Evans, who part­nered Nick Kyr­gios at the US Open, is the­o­ret­i­cally an op­tion to re­place Andy Mur­ray should the world No.2 con­clude that his body is too banged up after his five­hour or­deal against to play all three days. But the Mur­ray broth­ers are still Bri­tain’s best bet if they are to sal­vage any­thing out of this tie.

Pic­ture: SNS

AT FULL STRETCH: Jamie and Andy Mur­ray have Bri­tish hopes rest­ing on their shoul­ders this af­ter­noon as they seek to over­turn a 2-0 deficit against Ar­gentina.

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