Tennis

Jamie Murray wows British tennis chiefs behind the scenes at the Murray Trophy

Jamie Murray impressed in his role as tournament ambassador (Picture: Getty)

As the glitzy and glamorous Laver Cup reached its conclusion in Switzerland on Sunday so too did the more humble Murray Trophy in Scotland.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios were among the star attractions in Geneva but in a second tier Challenger event in Glasgow there was only one man taking centre stage.

Unfortunately for Jamie Murray – one of the Murray brothers who the tournament is named after – a fairy tale end to a week on home soil evaded him after defeat alongside John-Patrick Smith in the doubles final at the Scotstoun Leisure Centre.

Still, reaching the final was an achievement in itself given Murrays off-court activities during a tournament in which hes been heavily involved on an organisational basis.

Fresh from winning a third consecutive mixed doubles title at the US Open, Murray described his week in Scotland as the busiest of his career.

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Normally Im just turning up and Im there to hit tennis balls but obviously this weeks been a lot different, he laughed as he squeezed yet another media commitment into his already hectic schedule.

This has been far from a normal week for the seven-time Grand Slam champion, who has acted as a tournament ambassador off the court as well as being the main draw on it.

Jamie Murray and Judy Murray get involved at a school event
Jamie and Judy Murray were heavily involved in community activities (Picture: Getty)

There have been visits to schools, media events, sponsors to meet, community projects with his mum Judy, and just about enough time left to wow the Scottish crowd on court.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) held a Challenger event at the same venue in May a year earlier – in a bid to provide a platform for Andy Murray to make his return from a long-term hip injury, which never materialised – but his older brother Jamie, 33, was keen to make the tournament a permanent fixture in the British tennis calendar.

I spoke to the LTA last year about trying to put it on this year, I gave them as much time as I could and did whatever I could to make the event as successful as it could be, Murray added. Just doing what I can to ensure that its successful.

Its been a lot of hard work, a lot of people put in a lot of time to make it happen. Just all the off-court stuff that theyve been committed to doing but when youre part of an event and the running of an event, thats the sort of stuff that you have to do, you know?

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Its not necessarily difficult but it just kind of takes time and for someone who is just used to turning up at tour events and playing tennis and not thinking about too much else, its a big change.

I guess Ive learnt a lot in terms of what it takes to put on this event. I mean this is a Challenger event, I dont know how different it is to putting on a tour event other than it just scales up but the organisation, the planning, the logistics, obviously the investment certain people have to make to put the tournament on is from that point of view – its sometimes difficult to understand why people put Challenger events on.

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The LTA is not putting it on to make money from it but a lot of Challenger events out there on the schedule, a lot of people are losing money putting them on.

Theyre doing it because they love tennis or theyre putting it on to give their local community the opposite to watch live tennis, which essentially I guess is what were doing.

Murrays commitment to the cause has not gone unnoticed. One source behind the scenes commented theyd never seen an active player get so heavily involved in any event and LTA director of international events Stephen Farrow praised him for his contributions behind the scenes.

On Sunday when I wasnt here, he messaged me and said, “I think we need some bins on the outside court”, Farrow, who is the tournament director at Queens, said.

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I didnt see the message for like an hour and when I saw it, I messaged back saying, “Ah dont worry, well get someone to sort it”. He said, “Dont worry Im on my way to B&Q”. So he went to buy the bins for the courts. I just thought that was unbelievable.

Stephen Farrow hugs Feliciano Lopez at Queen's
Stephen Farrow has been impressed by Murrays commitment (Picture: Getty)

I cant imagine many players that would have done something like that. But that shows how much both about his attention to detail but also about how much he cares about making it good. Its been pretty impressive.

Murray has met with local council members and MPs – adding what Farrow calls a sprinkle of stardust to proceedings – and offered his own private masseur to give the players competing free massages – a luxury not often afforded to those at this level – as one of several measures employed to help participants enjoy their stay in Glasgow.

What we were really keen to do and what Jamie was really keen to do, particularly as his name is on it, is to offer something special to players and also, while this is a Challenger 80 – the lowest level of Challenger event – we wanted it to be more than that because this is a first step, Farrow continued.

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We really want to develop this event. We took the template from doing the event here last year and then looked at developing that. We had several meetings with him, hes been really engaged with it even to the extent of talking through the budget, what things cost.

I had a long meeting with him in Indian Wells, another long meeting with him in New York. Hes been to the NTC (National Tennis Centre) a couple of times where weve had very long detailed meetings with him.

And where hes really added value, its not only because hes such a star up here and he brings such great attention onto the event just through being here and being around but also those little things weve been able to do for the players from Jamies influence.

Murray trophy results

Singles: Emil Ruusuvuori 6-3 6-1 Alexandre Muller

Doubles: Masur/Bemelmans 4-6 6-3 10-8 Murray/Smith

This week hes been unbelievable. Given the fact hes playing in the tournament, hes not making any money from this. This is purely and genuinely – this is not a PR exercise – hes been genuinely giving his time here because he wants to develop the event and grow tennis in Scotland.

Others have made the transition from player to tournament directoRead More – Source