“A six-week break is a strange one”, Jamie Murray reacts to ATP suspension

leyeaduloju in News 16 Mar 2020
Jamie Murray (left) and Joe Salisbury during the ATP Cup (PA Sport)

Former world doubles No. 1, Jamie Murray has described the ATP’s six-week break as a “strange one”, but said the move was totally understandable given the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP announced on Thursday that it was suspending all tournaments for six weeks as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus continue to grow. The ATP is just one of many sporting bodies that have been forced to either cancel or postpone their tournaments, as the virus threatens to rip the sporting calendar apart.

Murray had arrived in the United States a week ago expecting to compete the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, but that tournament was abruptly cancelled on Sunday due to the virus, leaving the tour and the players uncertain about what to do next.

“It has been a weird few days here,” Murray told The Slice. “They cancelled the tournament out of the blue on Sunday. Since then, most of the players were still at the event site just practising and waiting to hear what the situation was going to be with the Miami Open”.

“Some players were scared to go home because they might not be able to come back to the States, depending on what countries they were from. Others were worried about getting quarantined or having to go in self-isolation. It’s been a weird sort of energy, I guess.”

Murray was one of the many players that stayed back at Indian Wells waiting for definitive information on the immediate future of the tour. The players were still able to practice at the venue, while a week of complementary accommodation was provided. The doubles world No. 26 also used some of his unexpected spare time to show off his golf skills, although he wasn’t particularly complementary of his own abilities on the green.

“There were some decent British tennis golf challenges in the last few days,” said Murray, who was joined on the course by compatriots, Dan Evans and Joe Salisbury. “There were some good battles out on the fairways and the greens, although some staggeringly incompetent putting from me.”

As the week went by, it became increasingly apparent that more tournaments would be cancelled, and confirmation finally came on Thursday that there will be no tennis on either the ATP or the ATP Challenger tours until 20 April at the earliest.

“The tour had to take a stance,” Murray said of the decision. “For them, it was the right thing to do really. Obviously there is so much going on around the world. For them to be continuing to put on events and have us players travelling all around, with people coming to watch, it wouldn’t have been a great look. It is totally understandable.”

Like many players, Murray isn’t very sure of what to do with his break, but he did point out one big positive, opining that the hiatus could serve as some sort of much needed pre-season in a usually congested tour.

“A six-week break is a strange one,” Murray said. “What do you do? Do you take a couple of weeks off and train for the next month or so? It’s basically doing another pre-season. Actually, for once, players can have a proper off-season”.

“I’ll just wait for now for news on what’s going to happen next. I need to try and find a semi-decent clay court in London to train on. Indoors as well would be nice.”

Story credit: The Times