THE natural order has been restored at last: where the older brother leads, the younger brother will follow. Or so a nation hopes.
Jamie Murray stepped out of his younger brother’s shadow last night, joining forces with Australia’s John Peers to reach his first men’s doubles final (he won the mixed doubles with Jelena Jankovic in 2007). Should Andy beat Roger Federer this afternoon, it would be the first time since 1906 that a pair of brothers have made it to the singles and doubles final. In those days of wooden rackets, white flannels and gentlemen players, the Doherty brothers, Laurie and Reggie, made the country proud. Now it is up to the Murray boys to do likewise.
Murray and Peers nipped past the hobbled pair of Jonathan Erlich and Philipp Petzschner 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to complete their side of the historic bargain. Peers was the powerhouse in the service and return department; Murray provided the brains and the touch and not a little dexterity at the net. On the other side of that net, Erlich was clearly in pain and could barely flex his right knee while Petzschner had his left knee taped. “It was a weird match because, you know, for us, me personally, I don’t know how John was feeling, it was a weird atmosphere because Johnny, he was clearly injured. He was struggling with his knee.
“Mentally it was quite difficult for us,” Murray said. “It’s the biggest match of our careers. Down the other end is a guy on one leg. It’s a strange one to be faced with that. I took a little while to get going. Kind of always felt we were going to find a way if we kind of kept at it.
“I think at the end of the third set, John started to play a lot of great returns. Then at the beginning of the fourth set, again, we got a great start. We kept that momentum going forward. You could see that they kind of visibly went away a bit. But we got through. It’s exciting for us to play the final. We’ll look forward to that on Saturday.”
Sympathy for Erlich apart, Murray and Peers were delighted with themselves particularly as Peers had been struggling to recover from a groin strain until two days before their first match. But once he had been passed fit, he and Murray have been unstoppable and now they are one match away from achieving their greatest goal – winning a Wimbledon title.
To get their reward, they will have to beat Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, who were made to work for their ticket to Saturday’s final. They scrapped and battled to get past Rohan Bopanna and Florian Mergea 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 13-11. Murray and Peers should feel fresher than them come the final.
But there will be little by way of overt brotherly support over the next couple of days: Jamie is planning to watch Andy’s semi-final on the telly at home while Andy does not watch Jamie’s matches live in case he jinxes them. As for hoping for that historic double, Jamie just laughed.
“He’s got to beat Federer and maybe Djokovic,” he said with a huge grin. “We have to beat Rojer and Tecau. I’d probably rather be us than him, I think.
“He’s going to have to play a lot of great tennis over the next few days if he wants to lift the trophy again. He’s been playing brilliant the last few months. He’s been feeling confident. I think he’s got a great chance of winning it.”