x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

From wild card to Wimbledon winner: Marray hopes win will inspire Murray

Jonny Marray becomes Britain's first men's doubles champion at Wimbledon in 76 years - and hopes it will prove an omen for Andy Murray.

Jonathan Marray lifts his winners trophy after winning the Wimbledon Men's doubles match with Frederik Nielsen
Jonathan Marray lifts his winners trophy after winning the Wimbledon Men's doubles match with Frederik Nielsen

LONDON // Jonny Marray set the scene for Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon finals appearance by becoming Britain's first men's doubles champion in 76 years - and said he hoped his win would inspire Andy Murray to glory.

Marray and Danish partner Freddie Nielsen needed a wild card to get into the tournament but followed up their victory over defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals by beating fifth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (7/5) 6-3 in the final.

It was a remarkable victory for Sheffield's Marray and Nielsen, and is another good omen for Murray ahead of tomorrow's men's singles final against Roger Federer.

In 1936, Fred Perry won the singles and Pat Hughes and Raymond Tuckey won the doubles, and no British player had matched either achievement until today.

Marray said: "I'm sure he was watching. He follows how all the guys do. We're friends. If it gives him any kind of inspirational help, I'm sure it would be good.

"Obviously everyone's hoping for him to win. He's come so close in a lot of grand slams so many times before. He's working hard and he's right at the top of his game. I don't see why he can't."

The result also had historical significance for Nielsen, who went one better than his grandfather Kurt, a two-time runner-up in the singles in the 1950s and the last Danish finalist at the All England Club.

The pair only played together because Marray and his original partner, Canadian Adil Shamasdin, were not ranked high enough to get into the tournament in their own right.

Neither Marray nor Nielsen has ever reached a final on the ATP World Tour, but today's victory should be enough to get them into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 in November.

Marray admitted he could not quite believe what had happened.

He said: "I've been saying to Freddie, I don't feel any different or anything. It's just like winning another tennis match. I suppose it will take time to sink in.

"When I see my friends and family and speak to them about it, over the course of a few days, a few weeks, I'm sure it will sink in a bit more."

Swede Lindstedt and Romanian Tecau were hoping to make some history of their own having lost in the Wimbledon final for the last two years.

And the fifth seeds began well, breaking the Nielsen serve in the seventh game and going on to take the opening set.

But Marray and Nielsen upped their level in the second set and took it with a break of the Lindstedt serve in the 10th game, Tecau netting a volley on the third set point.

The third set was extremely tight. The only break point came on the Marray serve in the ninth game but the 31-year-old produced a big serve just when it was needed most.

Into a tie-break they went, and Marray and Nielsen seized the initiative by winning the first four points.

It would have been five in a row but Marray pointed out to umpire Eva Asderaki that he had touched the net during the point. It did not cost them, though, Tecau blazing long on Marray and Nielsen's first set point.

At that point the rain began to fall and there was a lengthy break while the roof was shut.

The fourth set was almost a carbon copy of the third, and it looked like Marray and Nielsen would clinch victory when they moved 5-2 in front in the tie-break, only for Lindstedt and Tecau to come up with two stunning returns.

They won five points in a row to level the match, but it was their opponents who managed the first break in more than two sets to move 2-0 ahead in the decider, Lindstedt putting a simple volley wide.

And they held on to their advantage all the way to the finish line, Marray holding serve to clinch a stunning victory, with Nielsen putting away the winning volley.

Marray and Nielsen will take home £130,000 (Dh 740,000) each - almost half what the Yorkshireman has earned in the rest of his career put together.


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