The Murray Mafia - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

The Murray Mafia

Joshua Mason

Published

on

mafi murrays

 

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.

Hot Topics

Richard Gasquet Blasts ‘Catastrophic’ ATP

The former world No.7 has criticised the ATP over their handling related to the COVID-19 pandemic and has called for tennis matches to be shortened.

Published

on

Richard Gasquet, Rolex Paris Masters 2018, Simple Messieurs, 1er Tour, Photo : Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

French tennis veteran Richard Gasquet has launched a verbal attack against the governing body of men’s tennis over both their management of the current COVID-19 pandemic and their policies.

 

The 34-year-old former Grand Slam semi-finalist ripped into the ATP during a recent interview with sports newspaper L’Equipe earlier this week. In it he accused the organisation of being ‘overwhelmed’ by the pandemic and lacking transparency. All competitive tennis tournaments have been cancelled since March due to the Virus with officials aiming to restart the Tour next month.

“The ATP is a catastrophe,” Gasquet told L’Equipe. “They don’t say anything to the players. They are simply overwhelmed. Nothing is said in Zoom conferences, so I do not attend.”

In recent weeks some players have expressed concerns about returning to action and travelling to America. A country which has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in some parts. For the first time in history the US Open will be held behind closed doors and players will be essentially kept in what is being described as a ‘bubble.’ Although there is still a lack of clarity about quarantine measures when travelling between America and Europe.

The final decision about the US Open will be made by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and not the ATP. Tennis is made up of seven governing bodies and each Grand Slam has their own. Gasquet, who says he no longer listens to the ATP, has also hit out at those tennis federations which includes the one in his own country. Branding them as ‘puppets.’

“It is the authorities who decide,” Gasquet stated. “But neither Bernard Giudicelli (the president of the FFT) nor the president of the USTA are decision-makers. The federations are puppets.”
“You go to the hotel, you stay in your room, someone has a meal for you, and you go out to play. There just have to be a lot of regulations,“ he added about the US Open.

The route of Gasquet’s frustration is the unanswered questions he and others on the Tour are facing concerning its resumption. Due to the pandemic, the US Open and French Open will take place within seven weeks as well as two clay-court Masters 1000 events. Something the former top 10 player has described as ‘completely crazy’ during another interview with Le Parisien three weeks ago.

“I said from the start that tennis was going to be the sport most affected by this kind of pandemic,” said Gasquet. “It is confirmed. Here we are in a total blur. Nothing is known about possible quarantines upon return from the USA. And planes? At the moment you cannot book flights. Nobody knows anything.”

Besides the pandemic, a straightforward-speaking Gasquet also heavily criticised some other aspects of the sport. Making a jibe at the rules currently in place on the ATP Tour before coming out in support of shortening matches. Saying he can no longer watch long duels involving the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. According to the ATP, Gasquet has played 24 five-set matches in his career but has won only 11 of them.

“With the ATP you can do nothing. You open your mouth a little, you say something bad, it’s a $3,000 fine. Your coach whispers something, you get punished. It’s unbearable,” he fumes.
“I can’t even watch Roland Garros anymore. I can’t watch four or five sets of tennis, even for a Federer-Nadal match. We are the only sport where you play more than four hours…. There are some things to think about to shorten playing time.”

Gasquet has been ranked as high as seventh in the world rankings and has won 15 ATP titles. So far in his career, he has made more than $18 million in prize money.

note: translation of quotes obtained via Tennis Majors

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Ivan Ljubicic To Quit Coaching After Federer, Criticises Hype Over GOAT Grand Slam Debate

The former world No.3 has spoken out about what his plans for the future will be with and without Federer.

Published

on

Ivan Ljubicic - ATP Finals 2018 (foto Alberto Pezzali/Ubitennis)

Ivan Ljubicic has said his commitment to working with Roger Federer is ‘unquestionable’ as he confirms that he will leave coaching after their partnership ends.

 

The 41-year-old Croat, who has been a member of Federer’s team since 2016, has his sights set on working full-time in a new venture he has set up. He is the co-founder of the LJ Sports Group, which is an agency that focuses on ‘enabling professional athletes to focus solely on training and their performance on the field, while we take care of every other thing regarding their career.’ Among his clients are top 20 player Borna Coria and Marta Kostyuk.

“Roger will be my last coaching job. My commitment to this project after Roger is absolute,” Ljubicic told Novi List.
“But Roger and I go further, my work with him is unquestionable and there are no problems there.”
“After his career, I can dedicate myself one hundred percent to what makes me happy. Then I will be able to help the players in a way that we judge to be the best. At the moment, as far as the coaching part of the job is concerned, it’s exclusively Roger. The rest is marketing and sponsorship,” he added.

Ljubicic will have some extra time to work on his company this year after Federer pulled the plug on his 2020 season following his second knee operation. The Swiss tennis star has only played in two tournaments this year with his most recent being back in January at the Australian Open. Despite his lengthy absence from the Tour, Federer will not be spiralling down the rankings thanks to a change in the rules due to the pandemic. A players ranking position are now based on their best 18 tournament performances over the past 22 months instead of 12.

Despite the blip, Federer is determined to return to action at the start of next year when he will be 39-years-old. At present, he is the second oldest player in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Ivo Karlovic. The last time Federer ended his season early was in 2016 where he returned to winning ways the following year by winning the Australian Open.

“Everything is under control. We are planning the next season,” coach Ljubicic commented. “It is a wish and a dream for everything to be like in 2017, but it is clear that every situation is new. Anyway, we have one positive experience so we are all positive.”

Federer currently holds the record for most Grand Slam titles at 20. Although it is possible that rival Rafael Nadal could surpass his tally in 2020 if he wins both the US Open and French Open. Meanwhile Novak Djokovic, who is the youngest of the Big Three, is closing in with 17 major titles to his name.

Regardless of what happens to Federer’s Grand Slam record, Ljubicic believes too much focus is being placed on it. Saying the current world No.4 continues to play due to his love for the sport. Federer last won a Grand Slam at the 2018 Australian Open and has only managed to reach one final (Wimbledon 2019) since then.

“Everyone is a little too focused on Grand Slam titles. They are the biggest tournaments in our sport, but they are not the only valuable thing,” he said.
“We can measure everything with them, but we’re not all crazy about Grand Slams. What is the case with Federer is that he loves sports and will play as much as he can.’
“We will do everything to get the result, but that is not the only reason why he still plays and wants to play. But it’s clear to me that there are people who can’t understand that.”

During his playing career Ljubicic won 10 ATP titles and earned more than $10 million in prize money.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

‘Many Questions But Few Answers’ – ATP Chief Uncertain Over 2020 Calendar

Andrea Gaudenzi says tournaments must not come to an halt if there is a positive COVID-19 test.

Published

on

The head of the ATP has said he is still unsure if a series of tournaments will be able to take place across Asia and Europe later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Andrea Gaudenzi says there are ‘too many variables’ preventing him from planning ahead due to the worldwide health crises. All professional matches have been suspended since March but they will resume next month. On the ATP Tour, their first tournament will be at the Citi Open in Washington which will start during the second week of August. At present the governing body of men’s tournament has published a provisional schedule which only goes up until the French Open.

“We have no idea how the Asian swing or the European indoor season could go. It might sound obvious, but I can’t predict how the virus will affect us going forward, there are too many variables to consider,” Gaudenzi told Sky Sport Italia.

It appears that chances of tennis events being staged in China are slim. Recently the General Administration of Sport published recommendations that no international events are held in the country for the rest of 2020 unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Although tennis and other sporting organisations are seeking clarity before they scrap their events. Elsewhere, it is being reported that the ATP Finals in London remains on but the Next Gen equivalent that takes place a week before may not go ahead. Another event unlikely to go ahead is the Swiss Indoors in Basel.

Gaudenzi says tennis is at a disadvantage due to the global travel requirements compared to team tournaments. Some players have recently cast doubt over attending the US Open as they are unsure if they will be required to enter quarantine after leaving the country, which is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Marca newspaper reported on Monday that there are ‘ongoing negotiations’ to address this issue.

“We have many questions but few answers, because many answers are objectively impossible to provide,” former world No.18 Gaudenzi admits.
“Compared to other sports, tennis is at a disadvantage precisely because of its global nature. The players get to a tournament from every part of the world, and then move to another nation, if not to another continent altogether. Football and NBA basketball can simply devise a bubble of various sizes and shut themselves in to host their events, something we cannot do.’
“And the national governments aren’t giving us any indication regarding potential exemptions [referring to the quarantine] for the athletes involved in a given event.”

There is still hope

Gaudenzi, who took over as the boss of the ATP earlier this year, says there has been one silver lining to the pandemic with various governing bodies now working closer together. Tennis is guided by seven different organisations – ATP, WTA, ITF and each of the Grand Slam boards. In recent weeks there has been calls for men’s and women’s tennis to merge, but such a move is unlikely to occur in the near future.

“Over the last three months, we have had to make some decisions that were unprecedented in the history of tennis. We, the WTA, and the ITF were in conflict with each other at the onset of the pandemic, everyone was going their own way, but over time and up to today we have begun to work hard with a shared objective in mind, namely the safe resuming of play, which is the only thing that really matters right now.”

Whilst the future is uncertain, Gaudenzi says he is still hopeful. Admitting that the potential of a positive COVID-19 test occurring in tournaments will be something the sport might have to get used to. During the Tour hiatus, there was an outbreak of the virus at the Adria Tour which led to it being cancelled.

“I must remain optimistic, but I also need to keep my feet on the ground,” he said.
“We need to understand that a tournament can’t come to a halt because of a positive test, especially if it’s already in its late stages. This is why we need to keep our guard up, as well as to predict all possible outcomes, before giving the go-ahead to each event. The next two weeks are going to be crucial.”

So far the ATP has given the green light for five tournaments to take place alongside the two Grand Slams.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending