Jamie Murray: I knew it wasn't to be when the weather played havoc with us even under Centre Court roof
My Week at Wimbledon
Saturday 02 July 2011
I should have known on Tuesday night that it was not going to be my year here.
Jarmila Gajdosova and I were scheduled to play Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza in the second round of the mixed doubles on Centre Court, but because of the bad weather the referee's office had to revise the programme. We got a call at about 6pm telling us we would have to come back the following day. Since they installed the roof we must be the only players who can say their match on Centre Court was cancelled because of the weather.
We ended up playing on Court Two the following day and were beaten in straight sets. There's very little chance to play mixed doubles these days and it's particularly tough when the first time you partner someone is at a Grand Slam tournament. Jarmila and I only agreed to team up just before Wimbledon started. We got on well together – she's very relaxed and good fun to play with – but it's hard when you come up against opponents with plenty of mixed-doubles experience.
Ironically enough, I thought we played better in our second match. We beat Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko in the first round, when we were a bit lucky to win the first set. We were 6-2 down in the tie-break, but Andreev missed a couple of shots and we won six points in a row to take the set. That sort of thing happens quite a bit in mixed doubles.
Bopanna and Mirza were a much tougher proposition. Bopanna hits everything at a million miles an hour and Mirza doesn't hold back either. She's had a lot of success in mixed. Both of them knew exactly how to play. The first set was tight, but after they won the tie-break 7-5 we rather messed up in the second set.
I'll have to think about what I do in terms of the mixed at the US Open. If my ranking's as it is now I'll probably need to find someone higher ranked than Jarmila just to get into the tournament. I must get on the case earlier, rather than scramble around at the last minute trying to find a partner. If you do get the opportunity to ask someone to play then you have to take it. There aren't many tournaments where men and women are playing together so it can be difficult making contact.
My Wimbledon over, I ended up spending the next day at Chessington World of Adventures with my little cousins. It was certainly a good way to forget about the on-court disappointments.
2. Men's doubles has become big-hitting baseliner's world
This tournament has provided further confirmation of the changing nature of men's doubles. Not so long ago the thinking was that you just had to play serve-and-volley to have any chance of success. Now it's quite common for guys not to follow their serves in. The game is increasingly about big serves, big returns and hitting big from the baseline.
That was how Marcel Granollers and Tommy Robredo played when they beat Sergiy Stakhovsky and myself in straight sets here. They didn't play serve-and-volley at all. They were just hitting very big from the back of the court. The match was close, but we were taught a lesson in terms of not taking our chances. We had set points in the first two sets and didn't take them.
3. I've just made a birdie, so thank you and goodnight
I played golf with my Dad at Royal Wimbledon last weekend. He's pretty handy. He plays off nine or 10 normally. It was the first time I've played this year. I probably play off eight now. Normally I just like to smash the ball around. I'm not interested so much in scoring. I just want to hit lots of balls.
I was a bit scratchy, but I played better as the round went on. We only played 14 holes. The best moment was when I birdied the hole that was stroke index two. I hit a three-wood and then faded a four-iron into the green to about 10 feet and then holed the putt. I was pretty happy with that. I was ready to stop there because it wasn't going to get any better after that.
4. Why GB's Davis Cup team is turning into Tartan Army
I'll take a few days off after next weekend, but for the next few days my focus will be on the Davis Cup. We're playing Luxembourg in Europe Africa Zone Group Two at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow beginning on Friday. Win the tie and another one in September against Belarus or Hungary and we'll be back in Group One, which is the Davis Cup's second tier.
With my brother Andy, Colin Fleming and myself in the squad, James Ward is the only player from south of the border. Leon Smith, the captain, is another Scot. He used to coach Andy and we've known him since we were kids. We'll get together as a team on Monday evening. We've played at the venue before and it can generate a great atmosphere.
The Davis Cup has generally been a good experience for me. I've played in a World Group tie in Argentina, I've partnered Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski and I've taken part in play-offs for the World Group.
It's great having Andy play Davis Cup. When the world No 4 is in your line-up you're going to expect him to win his two singles rubbers, so it's a question of finding another point from somewhere for the win.
It will be the first time I've been back to Scotland since Easter, when I had a break because I was injured. I miss my home country a lot more now because I have so few opportunities to go back there. When I do, I appreciate more and more what I've been missing.
I particularly miss family. I get so little time to spend with them during the year. They obviously come down to watch during Wimbledon, but you can't spend a lot of time with them, especially while you're still in the tournament. It's the same with the Davis Cup. The family come to watch the matches, but you're committed to being with the team for most of the day. I always notice how the pace of life is much slower in Scotland. It's certainly more relaxed than being in London. My wife, Alejandra, likes Scotland, partly because the scenery reminds her of back home in Colombia.
5. Playing the big events is so much better than Challengers
With the grass-court campaign now over, it's time to turn to the hard-court season. It can take time to adapt to a different surface, though I don't think it's as difficult for us doubles players. If you're playing serve-and-volley you're hitting loads more balls out of the air.
After a week at home following the Davis Cup, Alejandra and I will head for the US, where we'll probably be staying until the end of the US Open. My first two tournaments are in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where I'll be partnering Xavier Malisse.
The thought of going away for such a long stretch after a period at home isn't appealing, but once you get out there and start competing you just get on with it.
It will be important to keep picking up ranking points. For the doubles guys, in particular, you have to put your weeks in. Every week could be your week. The thought of getting your ranking up so that you can play in the Slams and the bigger events on the tour is a major motivation, particularly when you've been playing on the Challenger circuit. You always want to play at the highest possible level.
I had a spell playing back in the Challengers and it taught me not to take anything for granted. I'm delighted to be back on the main tour now and I'm determined to stay there. Although some of the Challengers in Europe, in particular, are well-run events in nice locations, it's tough making a living out of them as a doubles player.
As a doubles player the reason you play in the Challengers is to earn enough ranking points to get you up to a level where you can make a living. Thankfully, at this point in time I'm at that stage again. I'm certainly not making millions, but I can afford to pay my way and enjoy playing in some of the bigger tournaments in the world. Roll on Wimbledon next year. I can't wait.
Jamie Murray uses the Dunlop Biomimetic 500 Tour racket. For more information go to: www.dunlopsport.com
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