As the organiser of the Battle of the Brits Team event, Jamie Murray couldn’t have been more delighted that, after a week’s highly competitive play, the final outcome of the event wasn’t settled until the last match.
Without these events none of us would be in such a good position and hopefully there should be some British success when we get back Dan Evans
In contrast as a competitor, he must have been gutted that in partnership with Heather Watson, they were unable to clinch the title for the Union Jacks as their opponents Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart grabbed the final five points to cross the 60 point finish line for the British Bulldogs.
In what was an exciting climax to the week-long tournament at the NTC in Roehampton, played out without any spectators, the Bulldogs won 6-4 6-2 to seal a 63-56 victory after they watched their rivals, in the form of Andy Murray and Naomi Broady, close the gap to just 2 points by defeating Kyle Edmund & Emma Raducanu 6-3 7-6(5) in the penultimate match.
With the match standing 58-56 in favour of the Bulldogs, the event was certainly hanging in the balance in a winner-takes-all scenario.
“It has been an amazing week, everything I thought it could be,” the 34-year-old Jamie Murray acknowledged after the final ball was struck.
His intention, to provide competitive play for the top British players while they rode out the suspension of the professional tours because of the pandemic, had certainly been achieved as confirmed by Dan Evans, the national number one, following his 7-5 6-2 win over Aidan McHugh.
“Events like this are perfect not just for the tour players but the younger players to get ready and get back out there,” Evans stated.
“Without these events none of us would be in such a good position and hopefully there should be some British success when we get back.”
Kyle Edmund, who beat Jan Choinski 6-2 6-1 for his fourth win of the week, was also thankful for the opportunity to hone his game in preparation for the resumption of the Tours this month.
“I want to get on the road again. This week has been nice as its probably the first time in a long time I’ve actually played some matches outdoors since Acapulco (February). I feel like each day I’ve slowly improved, so that’s been really good.
“It’s different conditions out in America of course, but its nice to just get on the match court really.”
Andy Murray, who only played in doubles matches at Roehampton, is also jetting off to the US, albeit somewhat apprehensively. He is keen to get back to playing at the majors once again having finally recovered from a series of injury setbacks and a rejuvenated hip.
“The situation I’ve been in these last few years haven’t given me the opportunity to play in many slams and I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have left to play in slams,” the 33-year-old three-time grand slam champion said.
“I want to enjoy the biggest events again. I missed that a lot. I love playing the biggest events, even though this will be different with no fans.”
Murray is planning to play the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open, which are being held in a two-tournament safety bubble in New York from the 22nd August.
“My game is in a decent place but it is tough to comment about the body until I’m out there playing competitive singles matches, that’s where it will really get tested,” Murray added.
“I feel I’ve played pretty well in the matches and the basics of the game, serving and returning, have been good.”
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson are also planning to return to the pro tour.
Konta, played her first matches since March earlier in the week with mixed singles results (one defeat and one victory), revealed she was managing a knee injury so made no further appearances saving herself for Lexington next week.
Watson, meanwhile, had a great week. She defeated Beth Grey 6-0 6-2 to remain unbeaten in her five singles and declared herself to be in a ‘good spot’ for her own return to the tour at Lexington.
Anton Matusevich (UJ) bt Alastair Gray (BB) 6-3 6-2
Emma Raducanu (BB) bt Naomi Broady (UJ) 6-3 6-3
Kyle Edmund (BB) bt Jan Choinski (UJ) 6-2 6-1
Harriet Dart (BB) bt Jodie Burrage (UJ) 6-4 7-6
Andy Murray/Naomi Broady (UJ) bt Kyle Edmund/Emma Raducanu (BB) 6-3 7-6
Joe Salisbury/Harriet Dart (BB) bt Jamie Murray/Heather Watson (UJ) 6-4 6-2
Maia Lumsden (BB) bt Alicia Barnett (UJ) 6-3 6-3
Ryan Peniston (UJ) bt Liam Broady (BB) 7-6 3-6 12-10
Heather Watson (UJ) bt Beth Grey 6-0 6-2
Dan Evans (UJ) bt Aidan McHugh (BB) 7-5 6-2
British Bulldogs won the series 63-56