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.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
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.

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick