Life is on the up for ace Marray

SHEFFIELD-based Jonny Marray is making a racket again in the capital.

Four months on from lifting the Wimbledon men’s doubles title with Freddie Nielsen, Marray and his Danish partner are enjoying the challenge of competing at the end-of-season Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The showpiece tournament, staged at the 02 Arena, features 2012’s seven most successful doubles pairs in a competition run concurrently with the singles event.

Having qualified by virtue of their SW19 triumph, Marray and Nielsen got off to a fine start in the event, defeating Indian duo Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in their opening round-robin Group B match 6-4 6-7 (1/7) 12-10 on Tuesday.

Marray and Nielsen locked horns with second seeds Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor last night in the second of their three group clashes with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

Marray said: “I suppose Wimbledon is the only other one, for me anyway, that’s this kind of size with this amount of people supporting you.”

Life has dramatically changed for the better for Marray, who trains at SheffieldHallamshire Tennis and Squash Club, since he and Nielsen became the first ever wild cards to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles title.

A year ago, the 31-year-old earned just £1,000 for winning a Challenger tournament at Loughborough. For competing at the Tour Finals, Marray and Nielsen have pocketed around £40,000 between them. Every victory in the round-robin phase earns the pair £15,500 and if they lifted the trophy undefeated they would rake in a whopping £205,000.

The Finals are a five-star tournament in every sense, with the players put up in a luxury hotel and transported to the venue by boat. By way of comparison, Marray recalled his experiences of playing in a Futures tournament in Uzbekistan.

He said: “We were staying in some flats of some local residents. I don’t know what happened. They were probably thrown out for a couple of weeks while we were there.

“One time, I think there was an uprising. The British consulate had to come in and drive us out in an armed convoy. It’s all character building stuff!”