Locker room: Jamie Murray and John Peers
A doubles team is almost like a marriage
Jamie Murray, 2007 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion, and his Australian partner John Peers discuss on-court chemistry and who is the better golfer
When did you first start playing together?
MURRAY: We started after the Australian Open last year. John came over to Europe and we played a few tournaments there, saw how it went and we decided to keep playing. Then from April to May we started to really hit it off and played a lot of good tournaments in the second half of the year, moved our rankings up and got a good platform for 2014.
How do you get on together off court and how important is that for a doubles team?
MURRAY: If you don’t like the guy you are playing with it’s tough to do things. At the end of the day it is business, but it’s a lot harder if you don’t like the person, you spend a lot of time with each other.
PEERS: It’s day in day out, it’s almost like a marriage, you see that much of them. You have to get on with them and find a way to have fun even when it’s not fun.
Speaking of fun, you both play golf – who has the best handicap?
PEERS: Jamie’s official handicap is better than mine. We try to play when we can but sometimes the time doesn’t allow it.
And as a doubles pairing how do your styles complement each other? Is the ‘leftie-rightie’ the ultimate combination?
MURRAY: The ‘leftie-rightie’ is good as guys are always getting different looks on serve. We are also quite different in the way we play which is also good – it’s always different things coming at the opponent, different ways to win points and for us it seems to have worked well over the last year.
PEERS: We both have different strengths and weaknesses and together they match up well and we complement each other nicely. It’s good that one person is strong in one area and another person is strong in another area.
As an individual what makes a good doubles player and what makes a good doubles pair?
MURRAY: Doubles has changed a lot from 20 or 30 years ago. Nowadays, it is a lot more of a power game, the intricacies have gone out a bit. It’s about big serving, big returning and guys can swing away from the baseline like they do in singles which makes it hard to volley because it’s tough to control the ball when it is coming that hard at you all the time. For a pairing, everyone has their own style; two good players don’t necessarily make a good team.
PEERS: It’s about matching up well together. You can have two good guys that play great tennis but together they don’t complement each other and that is the biggest factor in doubles.
MURRAY: If the energy is not right or the chemistry is not quite there then it’s probably not going to work.
Do you see the partnership sticking together going forward?
MURRAY: You see a lot of guys changing and thinking maybe the grass is greener but, the way I see it, the longer you play together with the same person the better the understanding and the stronger the team will get. It’s not always easy, of course you go through rough patches but it is always better to stick it out with the same guy rather than quit when the chips are down and look for something else. Maybe that works for a little while but in the long term I don’t think that’s the best option. We have a good team around us, we have a great coach in Louis Cayer who has helped us a lot and there is no reason why, if we keep working hard together, we won’t keep getting stronger and better as a team.