After claiming victory in the mixed doubles final at the US Open, Jamie Murray’s flight back to Britain ought to have been a triumphant homecoming.
But the Scots tennis star has been left kicking his heels after British Airways lost his rackets on the journey back from New York.
The six-time Grand Slam doubles champion has condemned the airline for misplacing the vital equipment, and blamed changes to its cabin baggage policy which means that tennis rackets are no longer accepted as hand luggage.
As a result of the new procedures, Murray claimed BA have now lost his equipment two times over the space of just three trips.
The 32-year-old discovered his rackets were missing after he arrived back at Heathrow following his mixed doubles success, the second successive year he has taken the title at the US Open.
This is a security policy issued by the UK Department for Transport. Many other airport authorities will not allow these items through their airport security pointsBA GUIDANCE
An aggrieved Murray then took to social media to criticise the airline before his 148,000 followers.
He wrote on Twitter: “Since @HeathrowAirport @British_Airways stopped allowing tennis rackets on planes my racket bag has failed to turn up at its destination twice in 3 trips. Before that 0 in 8-10yrs.”
BA’s official Twitter account responded less than ten minutes later, writing: “This is disappointing to hear, Jamie. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
A spokesman later told The Scotsman: “We have apologised to our customer and are in the process of returning his bag to him.”
Sky Sports golf commentator Andrew Coltart was one of many to back Murray’s stance and criticise the airline.
He wrote: “Welcome to a travelling golf pro’s nightmare. Utterly no comprehension of the costs to a professional sportsperson.”
Ordinary families also empathised with Murray’s cause, saying that they too had lost rackets while flying with BA.
Lisa Taylor, a lecturer from Norwich, replied to the Scot on Twitter: “I have had the same happen with my children’s (14 yrs and 12 yrs) tennis rackets too. 3 out of the last 3 flights (Luton & Heathrow) the bags have failed to turn up.
“Not great preparation for tournaments not knowing whether you are going to have your rackets to play with or not!”
Other Twitter users also rallied to support Murray. Sandra Deakins said it was “no way to treat a champion,” while Pete Urton asked Murray: “Did they let you bring your trophy on board?”
In guidance on BA’s website, it states that sports rackets and “games sticks” can only be taken on board in checked luggage for the hold, with items such as tennis or squash rackets “not allowed” as hand luggage on flights into or out of the UK.
It adds: “This is a security policy issued by the UK Department for Transport. Many other airport authorities will not allow these items through their airport security points so you will be asked to check them in on all our flights, even if they would normally be allowed as hand baggage in other parts of the world.”
Murray is due to play for Great Britain in this weekend’s Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan in Glasgow.
Murray’s claimed victory in the US Open mixed doubles competition with US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 33.