Jamie Murray announces Battle of the Brits Team Tennis event to feature top British male and female players
Jamie Murray is planning a mixed-sex, ‘Ryder Cup’-style follow-up to his Battle of the Brits tournament.
Doubles specialist Murray was the driving force behind the Schroders Battle of the Brits, a five-day tournament which featured the eight top British male players facing off in round-robin matches.
The tournament, which took place from 23-28 June, was played behind closed doors at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton and observed strict social distancing measures including no ballkids and no physical contact between the players.
Broadcast on Amazon Prime, the big draw was Andy Murray, who reached the semifinals. World no. 28 Dan Evans won the title, underlining his status as the top British male player when he defeated Kyle Edmund in the final.
The LTA announced on Thursday that Jamie Murray was planning another event to take place at the National Tennis Centre from 27 July.
The new event, known as the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis, aims to incorporate Great Britain’s best female players alongside the men and follows a somewhat Ryder Cup-inspired format. Current plans are for two teams selected by team captains, with six men and six women on each team. Eight singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches will be played across two show courts every day. According to The Times, between one and three points will be awarded for each victory.
Andy Murray and the top British woman, Johanna Konta, have both said they are willing to play.
‘That’s the intention,’ Jamie Murray told The Times.
‘I cannot tell you with a gun to my head that they will be there, but they both said they like the idea and intend to play as long as the fitness is there. I need our top players in order to put on these events.’
Andy Murray pulled out of the third-place play-off at the inaugural Battle of the Brits with sore shins, but his brother said he didn’t think the problem was serious: ‘It was just pretty intense.’
Jamie, a seven-time Grand Slam winner in doubles, was encouraged by the audience attracted to the Battle of the Brits on Amazon Prime.
‘I thought it was a huge success. I watched a lot of matches on TV and you weren’t watching thinking, “this is rubbish, there is no one there watching”. The fact we had extra stuff like the coach communication with the commentators, giving their thoughts and analysis, communication with the players as well — I thought it added to the whole event.’
ATP and WTA Tour tennis is currently scheduled to resume in August in the run up to the US Open, which will take place behind closed doors from 31 August-13 September.
But Murray was the latest player to express scepticism about the prospect about travelling for the US Open, particularly when the four biggest events of the clay-court season will take place in as many weeks in Europe immediately after the tournament in New York.
‘In New York they are talking quarantines for people from certain states of America. And then there is the EU saying that if you have been in the US you cannot go back – you need to do a quarantine [period] from the States. If they are incredibly strict with that and everyone has to do it, then if you go to play the US Open you cannot play in Madrid or Rome and you will have no preparation to play the French Open.
‘That will potentially come to a head soon with the ATP and US Open, depending on what those restrictions and policies are. I’d imagine the next few weeks would be pretty interesting. From my point of view as a player, you just want stability. Right now we don’t have that. I mean, you cannot even book a flight to New York just now. You have to fly through somewhere else.’
Doubts have been growing about top player participation in the US Open, with defending champion Rafael Nadal publicly committing to playing the Madrid Masters, which begins on the day of the US Open men’s singles final, and Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep both uncertain about whether or not they will travel to the USA.