Another match won, another $38,000 banked and the final is one round closer. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares are playing well, fighting hard and looking like potential champions at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals.
Their 3-6, 7-6, 10-3 win over Henri Kontinen and John Peers kept their unbeaten run going at the O2 arena and even if they had already qualified for the semi-finals on Tuesday, the win was sweet revenge. This time last year, it was Kontinen and Peers, the eventual champions, who got the better of Murray and Soares in the semis. Fighting for all they were worth in the two tie-breaks, Murray and Soares refused to let that happen again.
“It was a great effort for to us win the match because we obviously were hanging in a lot of the time,” Murray said. “We never find it easy to play those guys because they serve so well, they got a lot of firepower. They make it stressful for you.
“But we hung in. Again, we played our best at the end, which is really what matters in doubles.”
As unbeaten champions, Murray and Soares could pocket $517,000 (£404,000). Between them. Take away tax and expenses from that pay cheque and there is not a lot left for winning the ATP’s most prestigious doubles title.
Novak Djokovic, in contrast, could take home $2,712,000 (£2.2million) – all for himself.
Put another way, Murray won $19,000 yesterday, his share of the spoils for winning a round-robin rubber at the showcase event for the best eight doubles teams in the world, a tournament the top teams have been busting a gut all year to get to.
A first-round loser in singles at the US Open took home $54,000. No wonder, then, that Murray’s response to the launch of the new ATP Cup, was wholly favourable.
With up to 750 ranking points on offer to the winners and with $15million in the prize fund, the joint venture between the ATP and Tennis Australia could be a profitable start to the season. Over the course of ten days, 24 national teams split into six groups will do battle in three Australian cities – and it will come just six weeks after the International Tennis Federation’s revamped Davis Cup finals (with $2million going to the winning team) to be held at the end of November next year. The timing of the two events is anything but perfect and, combined with the Laver Cup (tennis’s attempt to mimic the Ryder Cup) in September, it means there are now three team competitions in the space of four months. Not that Murray minds; as a doubles player, he has his bank balance to consider.
“If I get selected to play those events, I’ll go play them,” he said. “If I have one week less off-season, I have one week less off-season.
“From my personal point of view, there’s a lot of money on the table for me as a doubles player, money I can’t make at other events throughout the year.
“Why am I going to give up that opportunity for one week? I mean, I can miss another tournament in the year, whatever.”
The International Tennis Federation has struggled to get the top players to commit to the Davis Cup. Now, to make it more palatable, they have rejigged the whole format to have 18 finalists all competing in Madrid at the end of next season. Yet no one seems convinced that the format will work.
The ATP, meanwhile, is planning on showing the ITF how it is done with their shiny, new cup event.
“Personally I believe the ATP Cup is going to be a huge success,” Murray said. “Davis Cup, that’s up in the air because we don’t know how it’s going to play out. I think everything is set up for the ATP Cup to be a success.”