With the Schroder Battle of the Brits due to start today at Roehampton, all eyes will be on Andy Murray who is making his return to competitive play having recuperated from a heavily bruised pelvic bone which he picked up in Madrid last November when on Davis Cup duty.
What's the punishment for people who are not sticking to the rules there that have been put in place? Andy Murray
The former world number one, twice a Wimbledon champion, will be playing with a target on his back as the British pack of top professionals will be aching to score a victory over the man described by many, as the best player the country has produced!
To have a win over Andy Murray could prove a major feather in the victor’s hat as brother Jamie, the brains behind the event, points out.
“For [Andy] it will be an important event to see where his game is at,” the elder brother said to Sky Sports.
“He has obviously not had a competitive match for maybe seven or eight months, so it is a long time.
“From what I have seen over the last couple of weeks he has been training hard with the other boys. I know he is excited about it.
“Everyone is putting their reputation on the line – he has got the biggest reputation out of everyone so there will be a bit of performance pressure on him to kind of show these boys that he is still the top dog.”
The event, which is raising money for NHS Charities Together, is being staged at the NTC in accordance to strict rules to avoid any further spreading of the coronavirus as hs happened in the Balkans with the Novak Djokovic Adria Tour.
“We are doing everything we can to limit that from happening at this event,” stated Murray. “We keep reminding people of the situation not to relax and to keep the two metres, but we are doing that.
“There will probably be a few more eyes on us now given what happened with the Adria Tour, but each country has got their own guidelines in place. We are following the government guidelines to put on a sporting event.
“Having gone through what we have gone through in Britain over the last few months, to see live sporting events on TV without a crowd looks strange, especially having watched football over the last two or three nights with no crowds.
“We are doing whatever we can, following the protocols the government has set out, to run this event.”
Murray junior, who has indicated he will be competing at the US Open and French Open when the time comes, has been critical of the Adria Tour but doesn’t expect any problems at the Roehampton.
“All countries, obviously, have different rules in place. But I think, though, once you start to bring in international travel into it, and players are coming in and team members from all different parts of the world, you need to make sure you’re taking all the correct measures, all the precautions that you can, to try avoid a situation like they got into over there.
“Hopefully, it’s nothing too bad, there’s not a big outbreak there, because my understanding is that in Serbia and Croatia they were handling it fairly well. But, once you start having mass gatherings with people coming in from all sorts of countries, it’s a recipe for it to kick off.
“It’s kind of a lesson for all of us to take – if we weren’t already – to take this extremely seriously, to have as many safety measures in place as possible.”
But he has one major concern – what would happen if the rules were broken in New York?
“I don’t mind what the situation is, providing it’s safe. If I was told I could take one person with me, for example, you can make that work. I would probably go with a physio in that situation, with some coaching done remotely.
“That’s not a perfect situation, obviously. To prepare for a grand slam, you’d probably be over there for three to four weeks beforehand. So, from a performance perspective, that’s tricky.
“But I also appreciate that these are unprecedented times, so you have to make do with what’s possible.
“Also, what’s the punishment for people who are not sticking to the rules there that have been put in place?
“You imagine a situation where you’re in the last stages of the US Open but, because someone’s gone out [of] that bubble and broken those rules and gone into Manhattan, or done something he shouldn’t have been doing, and you then contract the virus and are not able to compete in, maybe, the quarter-finals and semis of the US Open.
“It would be extremely frustrating. So how do they police that exactly? I don’t know how they go about it.”
It obviously needs clarification before the event commences and then proper policing during it.