Sheffield’s Jonny Marray hopes to be a smashing for many years


SHEFFIELD’S Jonny Marray believes his best years are ahead of him as he prepares for his opening match at the Australian Open.

Marray, aged 32, won Wimbledon last summer with doubles partner Freddie Nielsen, but will team up with Brazil’s Andre Sa in the first round in Melbourne against Slovakian pair Lukas Lacko and Igor Zelenay.

He said that despite reaching the top of the sport relatively late in his career he still has plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of his long journey: “I still played football regularly until I was 18 and I was never one of those players who were playing constantly from an early age. I gradually increased my training through my teens and I did my A-levels so I’ve no danger of burning out.”

Marray and Sa have been seeded 16th for the tournament and will be confident of seeing off Lacko and Zelenay.

The former St Wilfrid’s school and All Saints school pupil has already beaten Lacko in a doubles match this season. On that occasion, at the Qatar Open, Marray was partnered by Dustin Brown while Lacko had Spain’s Albert Ramos on his team.

It was a comfortable victory (6-2 7-5) as Marray and Brown reached the semi-finals.

Lacko’s straight sets win in the first round of the Australian Open singles against Gilles Muller and subsequent second round tie against eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic tomorrow means it may be Thursday before Marray gets his opportunity at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile in the early hours today Andy Murray was hoping to begin his quest to be the first player in the Open era to follow up his first grand slam title by winning the next one. He played Dutchman Robin Haase.

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