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.

News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
i100
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star