Jamie Murray got what he wanted, did what he set out to do and after 78 minutes of impressive work in the broiling heat of New York yesterday, he is now the US Open doubles champion.
He and Bruno Soares beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3.
Before the match, Murray had hoped that he would be facing Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez, a pair of singles players who rarely join forces for doubles, rather than the established doubles team of Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, who lost in the semi-finals.
Murray also explained his game plan in words on one syllable: “Don’t lose”. Playing his favoured team, he followed that plan to the letter.
Better still, he has got one over on his brother, Andy. Normally it is little brother who steals the limelight and rewrites the record books, but not this week. Andy may have reached three grand slam finals this year, he may have won his second Wimbledon title and his second Olympic gold medal, but he has never won two major trophies in one season. And now Jamie has. As Murray senior put it so eloquently: “Yeah, get it up you Andy!”
No doubles team has won two majors in a year since the Bryan brothers in 2013, but Murray and Soares began their new partnership by winning the Australian Open and have ended the grand slam season with another victory at Flushing Meadows. Murray also became the first British man ever to top the rankings in either singles or doubles when he took the No.1 spot in April. Get it up you, indeed, little bro.
“I’m starting to move out of the shadows a little bit,” Murray said with a huge grin. “There’s a long way to go. Look, Andy’s had a great year – he did three grand slam finals, winning Wimbledon was huge and Olympic gold. But he couldn’t win this but I did.”
When Murray and Soares first got together, the partnership seemed like a perfect match: Murray with his speed, reflexes and touch at the net and the laid back, seemingly unflappable Soares taking care of business at the back of the court. It worked like a dream in Melbourne but they have not had quite the success they had hoped for during the rest of the season. Until now.
In the heat and humidity that has wrapped the Big Apple like a damp and suffocating blanket in the past couple of days, they only put a foot wrong in the opening game – Murray dropped his serve. But from that point on, they made mincemeat of the Spanish pair. Carreno Busta, in particular, was having a nightmare in the cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium while Murray soon made up for that early slip by dominating the net.
Time and again, he pounced, pinging away the winning volley after Soares had done the groundwork behind him. They broke the Spaniards three times in the opening set to set the tone for the final and broke again in the second game of the second set. Once they had taken a 3-0 lead in that set, they were not troubled again.
“It’s a great feeling,” Murray said. “These tournaments are the hardest ones to win – all the best teams are playing. The last couple of years I kind of found a way to win, to play my best tennis at these events. It wasn’t always the case before. But I’ve got a great partner in Bruno who makes a lot of returns which is good for me up at the net and long may it continue.”