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The Murray Mafia

Joshua Mason

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The Murray Family may sound like an adorable folk band or murderous Californian cult, but it is not. Instead Andy, Judy and Jamie, who came out of a small town, have taken over British Tennis and are now setting their sights high, infiltrating all areas of the game. Andy Murray could make it another major in Australia this month as one of the favourites and with a child on the way, the family is only getting bigger. Much like the Cosa Nostra in their quest for expansion of the New World, the Murray’s are taking over Tennis, and it seems they are profiting hugely from their ‘raqueteering’.

 

Don’t Hate the Players

On the playing side, the Murray’s have two world beating foot-soldiers. Andy was always going to be the star child once he left for Barcelona as a teenager. He grew up there playing Djokovic and Nadal, which gave him the schooling he needed to get to where he is today. And today is certainly looking good – two Olympic medals, one US Open, a Davis Cup and  the Wimbledon win. It has not been an easy ride however, there have been plenty of losing battles too. Being a runner-up of 5 majors, Andy has experienced plenty of trials, but it is always about how you react. Murray has become a record breaker in British Tennis and given hope to a nation who have lived in the shadow of almost-man Tim Henman for too long.

Jamie is often the forgotten brother, (Jelena Jankovic didn’t even know who he was when she met him in Miami. He asked her to partner him at Wimbledon 2008) but has forged a road all on his own in Doubles, and like his brother, has seen unprecedented success for British Tennis. Jamie won the 2008 mixed doubles at Wimbledon and has also been the first brit in decades to reach a US Open doubles final too. He has always been at the side of his family, and at the 2015 Davis Cup he played an important role, winning the Doubles matches alongside Andy. Jamie Murray has achieved 13 ATP tour titles and will no doubt be at the forefront of the doubles game even after his playing career is over.

 

Mamma Mia

Like all good Mafia families there is a strong matriarchal character – enter Judy Murray. Born to a professional football player Roy Erskine, who played for Stirling and Cowdenbeath in the 50’s, Judy was always destined for a sporting life. Unfortunately for her it wasn’t going to be her. Despite a short stint as a pro in 1976 and playing against the likes of Debbie Jevans and Mariana Simionescu, she failed to make the grade. She could not stay away from the court long though and has lived her passion through her sons. She was their coach before finding success, and has continued her coaching to this today. She is currently helping Heather Watson as her interim coach and captains Great Britain’s Fed Cup team.

She seems to be the business brain of the Murray’s too, with an extravagant plan for a development near her hometown of Dunblane. The development which would include a Tennis Academy, Museum, Hotel and Visitor Centre would be a true legacy of the Murray’s achievements. Crucially though it was being built on greenbelt land, and the council have shown little enthusiasm for it, rejecting the initial bid. The plans also hid the fact there would be a golf course and 19 luxury homes in the development, which drew 1,000 complaints from residents. This has not stopped the Murray’s pushing for a change in the decision with a likely appeal pending. Like any self-respecting Mafia they brought in their celebrity pals to help, no not Frank Sinatra, but Sir Alex Ferguson and Colin Montgomerie who have put their backing to the idea. They will be hoping to give the council an offer they can’t refuse.

 

Keeping It In La Famiglia

Family is always number one in Mafia and the Murray’s are no different. Andy not satisfied with the amount of tennis in his life married into it this year. Kim Sears may seem like an another beautiful WAG, but her and Andy actually met through her father Nigel Sears – a British Tennis coach. He has worked with the likes of Amanda Coetzer, Daniela Hantuchová and Ana Ivanovic in his career, and his daughter Kim Sears married Murray in april last year in Dunblane.

Andy has claimed that he will fly home from the Australian Open if his wife goes into labour, as he understandably wants to be there for the birth. With the Murrays excelling in every side of singles, double, coaching and business, it is scary to think about the potential of any new member to the family. One thing is for sure, they have had an incredible impact on British Tennis and dragged the fans with them, creating a whole new level of optimism in Britain. It seems the next step will be creating a legacy, and with more Murray’s on the way, not even their rival Tennis family the Williams’ can compete at the moment.

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‘When Everything Works, You Have To Appreciate It’ – Roger Federer Reacts To Latest Win In Basel

The former world No.1 has produced one of his most clinical wins this year.

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Top seed Roger Federer has continued his love affair with the Swiss Indoors by recording one of his most one-sided wins in the history of the tournament on Wednesday.

 

The nine-time champion was in peak form throughout his dominant 6-0, 6-3, win over Moldova’s Radu Albot. A player who took a set off the Swiss Maestro in their previous meeting at the Miami Masters earlier this year. However, this time round it was a one-way run for Federer. In terms of games dropped, it was his most one-sided match played in Basel since his triumph over David Goffin in the 2017 semi-finals.

“I hit the balls on the return like a magnet, you’re still scared that the game can turn, but my feeling was unbelievable, with everything he tried he got caught by me.Federer said during his interview with Swiss TV.
“The moments when everything works, you have to appreciate, because they are rare. It’s so much the better that it worked in Basel.”

Despite Albot’s best efforts, it was not enough to tame the 20-time grand slam champion. During their 62-minute encounter, Federer hit 32 winners to 21 unforced errors as he won 75% of his service points. Furthermore, he also converted five out of his 10 break point opportunities.

Federer is through to his 17th Swiss Indoors quarter-final at the age of 38. He is also on a 22-match winning streak at the event. Awaiting him next will be either compatriot Stan Wawrinka or Frances Tiafoe.

“I hope to play Stan on Friday, I never thought he would be able to do so well on fast surfaces, he’s a tennis legend and would love to play against him here in Basel, even if it’s always it’s hard against him.” Federer commented on the potential clash.

Wawrinka kicked-off his campaign today in what was one of the last first round matches remaining. He saw off Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-4, after just over an hour of play. Wawrinka is hoping to reproduce his form from last week where he reached the final of the European Open before losing in the title match against Andy Murray. It was his first appearance in an ATP Final since February.

“It was great for a first match,” said Wawrinka.
“I moved and served well, I was really focused. I’m really happy to get through in two sets.”

Federer’s record in Basel now stands at 73 wins to nine losses.

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ITF Give Olympic Approval To Roger Federer As Nishikori Continues To Wait

Roger Federer’s Olympic dream has had a seal of approval by the ITF today after questions over his participation

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Roger Federer (@TennisForAll - Twitter)

The ITF have given Olympic approval to Roger Federer ahead of next summer’s games while Kei Nishikori awaits his fate.

 

Having not competed in many Davis Cup ties since the last Olympic games four years ago, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori’s participation in Tokyo has been hanging in the balance.

The criteria states that you must be nominated for a Davis Cup at least two times during the four year something that both Federer and Nishikori have failed to meet.

However in a recent interview, ITF president David Haggerty cleared up both Nishikori and Federer’s situation, “We have specific rules and this is one of the arguments that sets us apart from other competitions,” Haggerty told EFE Agency.

The Davis Cup is the qualifying round for the Olympic Games. In Kei (Nishikori’s) case, if he plays the first round next year, he will be eligible for the Games.

“In addition, Switzerland has the possibility of nominating Roger to be in Tokyo by a specific criterion: He has been a medallist in the past.”

So for Federer the Olympic dream continues as he has won an Olympic medal before and will look to claim a first singles gold medal in Tokyo next year.

As for Nishikori though, his participation at his home Olympics hangs in the balance as he will miss the Davis Cup Finals due to injury.

Should Japan fail to reach the semi-finals in the re-formatted Davis Cup next month in Madrid, then Nishikori will have a chance to qualify for the Olympics by participating in March’s qualifying event.

The full list for the Olympic Games won’t be known until the 8th of June next year, with the tennis event starting on the 25th of July and ending on the 2nd of August.

The current defending Olympic champion is Andy Murray.

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Alexander Zverev: Goal Is To Beat The Big Three In Grand Slams, Not Wait For Them To Retire

The German world No.6 has issued some advice to his fellow rivals on the tour.

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Alexander Zverev

If a player wants to triumph at a grand slam tournament, they have to be determined to end the reign of the Big Three in the eyes of Alexander Zverev.

 

The 22-year-old is one of a group of players hoping to one day end the trio’s reign at the biggest tournaments of the sport. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 51 out of the last 59 grand slam tournaments, including all of the ones that have taken place since the 2016 US Open. At present there is no player on the ATP Tour under the age of 30 with a major title.

“I’ve always said that if we want to win big titles for younger players, we also have to compete against these players. They have dominated tennis for the past 15 years. If one of us gets a Grand Slam title, that should not be because the three are gone, but because someone was better.” Zverev said during an interview with Tages Anzeiger.
“I do not want them to stop. I want to become a Grand Slam champion because I’m the best.”

Zverev has shown glares of his top ability in the past. Winning three Masters titles, as well as the prestigious ATP Finals last year in London. However, it has been a different story concerning the grand slams. He has only reached the quarter-finals twice, which was at the French Open. Only once is his career has he played a member of the Big Three at a major, which was Djokovic in Paris earlier this year.

Billed as one of the future superstars of the sport, Zverev has been forced to deal with numerous expectations back in his native home of Germany. On top of that, he is enduring a turbulent year with his legal battle against his former manager still ongoing. Zverev has now singed with Team8, which was co-founded by Federer.

“If you win a tournament, it means you have to win a Grand Slam title. I have heard this sentence 500 times in the last three years.” He states.
“But in the end, the others are even better than me at the Grand Slam tournaments. And I have to ask myself: How do I improve my game so that I can win those too? That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Perhaps one player to draw inspiration from is Daniil Medvedev, who recently defeated Zverev in the final of the Shanghai Masters. The Russian has enjoyed a sensational second half of the season where he has reached six consecutive finals. During that period he has recorded wins over five different members of the top 10.

“His achievements show the other boys what is possible.” Zverev said of his rival.
“Many are a little too impressed by the legends. There are legends, too. I also have the utmost respect for people like Roger, Rafa and Novak myself. These are the best players we have ever seen.’
“Nevertheless, when you go to the court, you have to show your game to have a chance. I think I’ve done it to others over the past two years, and more are knocking on the door now.”

Zverev lost in the first round of the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday to Taylor Fritz. He now faces a tough task of ensuring that he qualifies for the ATP Finals, where he will be defending not only his title but also 1700 ranking points.

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