Jamie Murray on the French Open, British struggles & Andy Murray’s future

Jamie Murray BBC Sport Columnist graphic

In his latest BBC Sport column, Jamie Murray talks about his hopes of landing a first French Open title, how Britain isn’t developing enough top singles players and why Mats Wilander was wrong about his younger brother Andy.

While I have managed to win seven Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, none of them have been at the French Open.

Winning the title here at Roland Garros, and at Wimbledon, are my two biggest goals until the end of my career.

I’m 34 now so I need to give it everything I can in the few opportunities that I have left!

This is the first time that I’ve played with Neal Skupski at Roland Garros because we started our partnership after last year’s tournament here.

We’ve not played a lot together on clay but I’m confident we can play well on this surface and get some good results.

Of course, it is a bit different to the other surfaces and you have to work harder for your points.

Neal plays really well from the baseline and it helps that we have two different styles on the court. Therefore we have different ways to win our points.

Before the French Open we lost in the first rounds at Rome and Hamburg, although we should never have lost in Hamburg where we were 6-0 3-1 ahead.

But here, in our opening match against Juan Ignacio Londero and Jiri Vesely, we played a good match overall.

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski playing in the French Open
Murray and Skupski, whose best Grand Slam performance together was a run to the US Open semi-finals in 2019, won 6-4 4-6 7-5 against Londero and Jiri Vesely

Perhaps we could have done better in the second set and take more of the opportunities that we did a good job creating, but it is not easy in these conditions when it is slow and the ball is very heavy.

A lot of returns are being made and we had to grind for our points.

Our court was one of the two or three that didn’t have floodlights so we had to stop at the end of the second set because it was so dark.

The organiser had to decide whether we would finish when a court came available or finish the next day.

We spent about an hour off court, mostly at the referee’s office to see what was happening, but after a quick shower and change we got back out there.

Thankfully we were able to finish it on the day. We did well when we came back on, had good energy and a good idea how we wanted to play.

‘Britain should be bringing more players through to the top’

It was a tough set of results for the British players in the singles at Roland Garros, with all six of them losing in the first round.

But there were some tough draws there and the tournament has come on the back of an unusual season and been played at an unusual time of the year.

Suddenly we’re playing on clay in September and October with very limited preparation time.

I think it is just one of those things. It is not like we come to French Open, or any Grand Slam, every year and all the Brits are going into the second week. That’s rarely the case.

Most of the time it has been Andy or no-one really. I don’t feel like it is something out of the ordinary and something that needs to be made a big deal of compared to other efforts in Grand Slams.

Possibly the criticism of LTA has been fair in terms of their ability to bring players through to the top of the game.

They have got a nice cheque from Wimbledon for many, many years but so far have been unable to bring a decent number through to the top of the professional ranks.

You’re not even talking top 10 or top 100 in the singles. You’re talking top 500.

We should be doing a much better job of bringing players through to that level with the finances we have available.

‘Andy has a lot more to give’

Andy was one of the British players who lost in the French Open and afterwards former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander questioned his future.external-link

I didn’t agree with his comments.

Andy is doing his very best to get back to the level he wants to play to and knows he can play at.

Obviously this year was difficult for him because just when he was about to start playing tournaments in the States in March the whole season got cut. So it has been very bitty for him.

He has got a few more tournaments to try and finish the year strong and get ready for the Australian Open in January.

I certainly think he has got a lot more to give. He showed that in some of the matches in the States and also when he won the European Open title in Antwerp last year.

I really believe he can get back to playing at a really high level and competing against the best players in the world.

Nick Kyrgios criticised Mats Wilander in a Twitter post
Australian player Nick Kyrgios criticised Wilander’s comments in a Twitter post supporting Andy Murray

Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko.

BBC News