When Jamie Murray lands in London on Tuesday he will do so with a grand slam doubles trophy to accompany his bags. He will also be the world No2 and at some stage in the very near future, it is likely he could become the world’s top-ranked doubles player.
Murray was back in Rod Laver Arena to watch his brother Andy take on Novak Djokovic in the singles final, just as Andy had been there at the end to celebrate Jamie’s triumph in the doubles, when he and Brazil’s Bruno Soares beat Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek to win the Australian Open.
Beating Andy, who has been in nine grand slam finals, to be the first member of their family to be a world No1 is something the 29-year-old probably never considered possible, especially not when he was considering throwing away his rackets a few years ago as the grind of the Tour began to take its toll. With the help of a good partner, in the Australian John Peers, and a reunion with his old coach, Louis Cayer, he dug himself out of the hole. Last year, he and Peers reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals before parting ways as Murray joined forces with Soares, and on Saturday night the newly-formed pair won their first doubles title together.
“I just think it’s amazing that you’ve got the two brothers sitting at No2 in the world,” the GB Davis Cup captain, Leon Smith, said. “It’s quite astonishing, particularly from the one family to be in that situation, from the one town. It’s an incredible story, it has always been an incredible story, it just gets even more incredible when things like that happen. I just think it’s astonishing.”
For Smith, the progress of Andy and Jamie must be even more startling. When Andy was 10 and Jamie 11, Judy Murray employed Smith as an apprentice, teaching him the ropes as they travelled up and down the country in a van. Smith has the odd flashback when he witnesses the brothers’ success.
“I think we always kind of talk to each other about it,” said Smith, who led Britain to their first Davis Cup title since 1936 in November. “We talked about it a lot in Davis Cup, laughing, saying it was actually quite funny that we’re walking out there in GB tracksuits and you think back to what it was like 15, 16 years ago.
“They were so young. It’s amazing – you never take it for granted – that journey they’ve been on, the way that Judy influenced them all, me as well, the whole programme in Scotland. But it’s good to keep reminding yourself about that as well.”
In his victory speech, Murray recognised the role his family have played, in particular that of his wife Alejandra, who has enjoyed the highs but also had to put up with the lows.
Murray also singled out Cayer, the Canadian who is regarded as the best doubles coach in the world and who always believed the Scot had the talent to reach the top even if it took Murray time to buy into it.
“All the work we’ve done together has always been in a process with a view to getting to No1,” Murray said. “Whether I believed I could do it, I don’t know, but he did. I just did what he told me. Almost there. Getting closer.”
Smith said Murray deserves every success. “The speech Jamie did was really nice,” he said. “I think that showed a man that’s put his heart and soul into trying to get to that point, he’s suffered some disappointments along the way, it was nice to see him get there.”
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