Andy Murray joins the jet set in attempt to conquer Rome Masters

Scot uses private plane – and gives Tsonga a lift – for more practice time after Madrid Mastersexit

Andy Murray does not do flash. This is, after all, a man who sold his red Ferrari because he felt “a bit of a prat” when driving it, who travelled to Wimbledon ever day last year in a friend’s VW Polo and drank Irn Bru at a reception given by the British consul general in New York after his US Open victory.

The 25-year-old Scot has, nevertheless, joined the jet set. Following his defeat by Tomas Berdych in Madrid on Friday night, Murray flew here by private jet the following day for this week’s Rome Masters. He also offered a lift to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Some things never change, however. Murray wore a track suit for the flight and jeans for dinner. Tsonga, who ate in the same restaurant as Murray on Saturday evening, wore a jacket and tie on both occasions.

“I actually asked him about it when we saw him because we were very impressed at the effort he made,” Murray said yesterday with a smile. “I think he’d just done a deal with Tommy Hilfiger, so I think he was making more of an effort. Then when we got to the hotel, we actually ended up going to the same restaurant as him that night and he paid for my dinner to say thank you. He was wearing a different suit that night, so it was impressive.”

Murray, who today replaces Roger Federer at No 2 in the world rankings, flew with a company that specialises in corporate travel. It offers deals costing from €115,000 (about £97,000), which allow users to buy 25 hours of flight time in a seven-seater jet.

“It was the first time I’ve done it,” Murray said. “There are times on tour when it’s important to get somewhere as quickly as possible to give yourself the most amount of time to recover. A lot of players have done it over the years. Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic] have been doing it for a number of years.

“For certain tournaments and certain situations it can help. Indian Wells to Miami is a good example. After I finished playing [Juan Martin] Del Potro in Indian Wells this year we drove four-and-a-half hours to Las Vegas, stayed in a hotel, got in at two in the morning and woke up at six to get on a flight to Miami. Whereas if you fly directly from Palm Springs you can get there in four-and-a-half hours, rather than 10-and-a-half hours. So there are certain times when I’ll do it. Obviously, it’s a luxury.”

Federer has been using private jets for several years. Asked yesterday whether he ever gave lifts to fellow players, the Swiss said: “I gave Rafa and his girlfriend a lift once, from Canada to Cincinnati. But no, my jet’s full. You don’t want to be on my jet with my kids, you know.”

Murray, who has earned $27m (about £17.6m) in prize money alone, can clearly afford the jet travel, though he has not boosted his earnings by much during the current clay-court season. After going out in the third round in Monte Carlo and the quarter-finals in Madrid he will be hoping for a good week here in his last tournament before the French Open, which starts in 13 days’ time.

“I’ll try to find ways to win matches,” Murray said. “It doesn’t always matter how well you’re hitting the ball if you can find a way to win.”

After a first-round bye Murray will play his opening match against the winner of yesterday’s meeting between Marcel Granollers and Nikolay Davydenko. Thereafter he is seeded to meet Kei Nishikori and Del Potro before a semi-final meeting with Federer. Djokovic, Nadal, David Ferrer and Berdych are all in the other half of the draw.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...