Jamie Murray on US Open mixed doubles final, Bethanie Mattek-Sands & signing Daniel James

  • Posted: Sep 06, 2019

In his latest BBC Sport column, Jamie Murray discusses his upcoming US Open mixed doubles final, the difficulties of juggling two competitions and how playing Premier League fantasy football helps pass the time at tournaments.

The US Open has been a successful tournament for me in recent years and I’m hoping I can win another trophy when I play with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the mixed doubles final on Saturday.

Bethanie and I won the competition here last year, which meant I defended the title after winning it with Martina Hingis two years ago.

I also won the men’s doubles with Bruno Soares in 2016 after we reached the final in 2015 as well.

So I’ve had some decent success here and means I’m looking to win a trophy for the fourth successive year when Bethanie and I play Chan Hao-ching and Michael Venus, who are the top seeds, in the mixed final.

I like the conditions at Flushing Meadows, it suits my game and I’ve had some great partners along the way.

Generally I like playing in North America – I like the tournaments, I like the conditions, I like the crowds – so I feel like I’m always in good shape when I come to New York for the final Slam of the season.

I struggled a bit in the first three tournaments of the North American hard-court swing – in Washington, Montreal and then Cincinnati – mainly because we played with different balls.

They were a lot heavier than what we normally play with, that caught me off guard and I was struggling a little bit and not feeling good in my game.

But then I went to Winston Salem where they play with the same balls as here and started to feel better.

Neal Skupski and I had a really good tournament in the men’s doubles there, although we lost a very tight semi-final against Colombian top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

We played five good matches to get there and beat some good teams along the way.

It was frustrating to lose in such a big match with fine margins and miss out playing in our first tour-level final together, especially because there were no breaks of serve and not many break points, but there are a lot of positives to take in our partnership from the tournament as a whole.

There has been a lot of good tennis over the past 10 days or so, with both Neal and Bethanie, so now it would be nice to finish the Grand Slam season with another trophy.

Bethanie is good fun to play with and we have a great chemistry on court. She’s a smart player, has a lot of skills and is very creative, plus she’s feisty, gets stuck in and doesn’t hold back.

We also have the benefit in New York of her being a home player, so we’ve had fantastic support in all the matches we’ve played here in the past couple of years.

She’s a very popular player, which you can see with the number of people wanting to talk to her and have selfies when she’s walking around the site, and she has got a good following.

It creates a good atmosphere on the court, which it should be again when we play on another big court in the final.

‘Fantasy football kills the dead time on tour’

When you’re doing well in both the men’s and the mixed, it can be hard to juggle them – although it is a great problem to have!

The schedule can make it frustrating because there have been a couple of days where I’ve played men’s and then I’m waiting four or five hours to play mixed. It is just dead time.

You’re hanging around waiting to play, wanting to get on court and you end up expending energy.

It is not easy, because you know you’ve got to go and compete, and know you’ve got to come back and play the next day. It plays on your mind a bit.

You just have to wait, you’re trying to kill time. There’s nothing to do really, that’s kind of normal.

One thing which usually keeps me entertained is fantasy football and because there is so much dead time there is no excuse for missing transfer and team selection deadlines.

But this week is the international break so I’ve had nothing to do. It’s always disappointing when there are no Premier League fixtures at the weekend.

There are 20 of us across two groups in our game, I’m in the bottom division and my brother Andy is in the top division.

It’s mainly friends and tennis people close to us in our circle, our dad is in the league too, Colin Fleming, a few guys that work with Andy. It’s great fun.

I’m a Manchester United fan so I signed Daniel James last weekend – he’s been scoring a few – and I also have Marcus Rashford.

We do a draft auction at the start of the season so I was ninth out of 10 picks, so I couldn’t get a Mohamed Salah or a Harry Kane or one of the other top guys at the start.

I put a lot of emphasis on trying to find clean sheets each week with random teams, but I wouldn’t say I’m great.

United haven’t been doing as well in recent years so I haven’t been loyal to picking their players – there is too much at stake.

We don’t have a prize at the end of the season, it is just bragging rights – that is priceless.

  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Flushing Meadows.

Source link