Jamie Murray on the week that changed the mood around British tennis
The Covid-19 crisis was gripping the tennis world when Jamie Murray and the LTA teamed up for a tournament that changed the mood around the British game in a manner few could have predicted.
The Battle of the Brits event was staged at the Lawn Tennis Association’s National Tennis Centre in June 2020, with all the top British players taking part in a tournament that served up live sport to a viewing public at a time when there was little on our screens.
Andy Murray, Dan Evans, Emma Raducanu and Johanna Konta were among the big names who took part in the event, with Jamie Murray acting as tournament director.
The friendships created by that event have been enduring, with the top British players still part of WhatsApp groups that were formed that week.
Many of the players involved have spoken about the friendships that have endured and how they have inspired each other to success over the last couple of years, with many of the players in the event enjoying huge rankings rises since.
Now Murray has spoken to Tennis365 about the impact of the event he was so central to piecing together, as the five-time mixed doubles Grand Slam champion suggested a few players had their eyes opened to what is needed to compete at the elite level of the game.
“It was massive for some of the younger players to be around people like Andy (Murray), Dan Evans, Jo Konta and Cam Norrie to see what the players at the top of the game do before and after matches,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Jamie told Tennis365 at a Game4Padel event in London.
“Seeing how the top players do it is important and being on the same team as they were massive for the younger players and you can see the impact since the tour started up again with the results they have had.
“It brought a load of the young players together and to be around the top players in the country was great. Everyone got to know each other and it brought them closer together.
“Now we see them cheering each other on during the year on the tour and that is great to see.”
Two-time men’s doubles Grand Slam champion Murray is Tournament Director once more for the upcoming Battle of the Brits event in Aberdeen, which will be staged from December 21-22.
The Scotland v England clash will stir up one of the oldest rivalries in sport, with Andy Murray and Dan Evans set to go head-to-head in a contest that is set to be played in front of a big crowd.
It is another example of tennis staging an event that appeals to a wide audience outside of the regular tour and Jamie is keen to explore more opportunities in that area when he brings down the curtain on his hugely impressive career on the doubles court.
“I’m defiantly interested in the event side of tennis,” added the 36-year-old who notched his 500th career doubles win earlier this month.
“I’m interested in putting on different events, more unique events like the Battle of the Brits.
“If you are attached to the ATP or WTA, you have strict criteria to follow, but you can put on different events outside of that and have a little more freedom.
“I saw an opportunity during Covid to put on events that haven’t really happened in the country before and now we are looking forward to doing another one in Aberdeen next month.
“It’s been a huge learning experience, but one that I’ve enjoyed and I would like to do more.”
Having achieved so much in his career so far, few would doubt that the elder Murray brother will have plenty to offer when he hangs up his racket for the last time.
Jamie Murray spoke to Tennis365 at a Game4Padel event in London.
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