Jamie Murray: World No.1
Originally published on 04/04/16 00:00
Last year Murray and his partner John Peers did not play at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells because they were not ranked high enough to make the main draw. Two weeks later in Miami, Murray and Peers lost in the second round to a Brazilian pair – Bruno Soares – who is now Murray's doubles partner – and Marcelo Melo – the man Murray has overtaken to top the world rankings.
"He really deserves it," said a gracious Melo, who became No.1 in November 2015. "He made the final in Wimbledon, final US Open, won the Davis Cup, won the Australian Open, so he deserves it a lot. I'm happy for him."
Murray, who celebrated his 30th birthday in February, is the first British player under the modern ranking system to become world No.1. Now he has turned his attentions to two big tournaments this summer – attempting to go one better at Wimbledon before targeting doubles gold with brother Andy at the Rio Olympics.
“That's a huge goal for me, I really want to do well in the Olympics with Andy,” said Murray, who is unbeaten in Davis Cup doubles rubbers when playing with his brother. “London 2012 was a huge disappointment for me. To lose in the first round, when you have all that support behind you, was a huge anti-climax.
“I'd love to win Wimbledon, last year losing in the final in the way we did was a big let down. At the time I didn't know if I'd get the chance to go back and play a Grand Slam final again.”
After back-to-back opening round defeats at Queen’s and Nottingham, Murray and Peers reached the final at Wimbledon – losing in straight sets to Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. The same fate befell them in New York – reaching a second straight Grand Slam final – only to fall at the final hurdle with defeat to French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Peers and Murray reached eight finals last season – but lifted just two trophies. Despite qualifying for the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the pair announced they would be going their separate ways in 2016.
In an interview with tennishead, Peers described a doubles partnership like a marriage. If their split was an amicable divorce, then Murray’s new relationship with Soares was certainly in the honeymoon period.
In only their second tournament together, the pair scooped the title in Sydney, before Murray reached a third straight Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, but this time, he went one better, lifting his first men’s doubles Grand Slam title.
His final ascent to No.1 was somewhat less glamorous. After missing out on the chance to top the rankings after a quarter-final defeat to Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in Indian Wells, Murray and Soares lost their first round match to Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram in Miami – only for Melo and Ivan Dodig to lose in the second round – ensuring Murray would leapfrog Melo in the ATP rankings.
“For me, this is my best achievement,” said Murray, who played with 40 different doubles partners before joining forces with Peers in 2013. “When we won the Davis Cup, that was an awesome thing to do, but really Andy won all the matches. I felt more of a selfish sense of ‘I have done it’ when I won the Australian Open with Bruno, because I knew I had put in all that effort myself. But this is different again.”