The final Masters Series tournament of the year got under way in Paris yesterday, but the game's top players, who all have first-round byes, had their minds on other matters. Rafael Nadal was back home in Majorca nursing the tendonitis in his left arm that has forced him to withdraw from this week's event, Roger Federer was beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the final of his hometown tournament in Basle and Andy Murray was giving a major boost to his brother Jamie's career by partnering him to the doubles title at the Valencia Open.
The Murrays' 7-6, 5-7, 10-7 victory in the final over two of the world's most experienced doubles players, Max Mirnyi (Jamie's former partner) and Mahesh Bhupathi, gave Andy his first tour doubles title, his elder brother the biggest men's doubles win of his life and the brothers their first victory together. Valencia is one of 11 ATP '500' events, which are the next most important tournaments after the Masters Series.
Andy described the victory as "one of the best wins of my career", while Jamie said the week had been the best the brothers had ever played together. "Our opponents in the final are a top team and have been top doubles players for a long time," Jamie said. "We were 4-2 down in the final tie-break and then we won seven points in a row. They came back a bit but then Andy hit a great serve to clinch it."
Jamie had not won a tour doubles title for more than two years and had slipped from a career-high No 27 in the world rankings to No 91. Yesterday's win, which should see him climb at least 25 places in today's updated list, brought a reward of 500 ranking points, which is only 248 fewer than he has won from his 28 other tournaments this year. "The points will make a big difference to some of the tournaments which I'll be able to get into now," he said.
The win was also worth €47,620 (about £41,380) in prize money to each brother, comfortably more than Jamie had won all year.
Eleven days ago, Andy was best man at his brother's wedding to Alejandra Gutierrez, a 27-year-old Colombian. "He did really well and made sure everything ran smoothly," Jamie said. Had Andy embarrassed him with a speech? "He didn't do a speech," Jamie said. "I asked him not to."
Jamie has been playing on the Challenger tour most of this year. He won two titles with another Briton, Jonathan Marray, but has played with a number of partners in recent weeks. He won another Challenger title in Tashkent last month playing with Ross Hutchins and will link up with fellow Scot, Colin Fleming, for his last tournament of the year in Bratislava.
Heather Watson, Britain's 2009 US Open junior champion, enjoyed the biggest victory of her career last night when she beat France's Alize Lim 6-3, 6-3 in the final of an International Tennis Federation tournament in Toronto. The 18-year-old from Guernsey, who is likely to break into the world's top 200 as a result, had never previously won a tournament overseas.Reuse content