In his latest BBC Sport column, Jamie Murray talks about his hopes alongside Neal Skupski, recently playing with – and against – his younger brother Andy, who wins the British putting competitions on tour and why he has no plans to retire for a long time yet.

The will be the second Grand Slam where I have played with Neal Skupski and we feel we have a good base to work from now as we look to go far in the draw.

We had a tough loss at Wimbledon in the first round and the way we lost – in a match stretching over two days because of bad light and five sets – was difficult to get over.

Then we didn’t see each other for about a month because Neal went to play in the World Team competition and when we met up again in Montreal we only had one practice and played the match where we lost without much preparation.

We had a few days on the practice court together leading up to Cincinnati where we had a good tournament and reached the semi-finals, then went to Winston Salem to get more matches if we could.

We also managed to reach the semi-finals there, so we played seven matches in the last couple of weeks which has been great for us.

We needed that time on court together at this stage of our partnership and we both feel a lot better going into the having had those matches under our belt.

You spend time with each other and learn about their personalities, and learn -e what works for them, how they might deal with certain situations in a match and what they might need in terms of communication at these points.

I’m not sure what he has learned about me so far in our partnership – you’ll have to ask him!

But you try to be yourself and you find a way to deal with each other, that’s what a partnership is about.

Off court, Neal is an easy going and relaxed guy. The only downside is that he supports a dodgy football team – he supports and I support – but we all have our weaknesses!

We’re getting on well and we’re confident the results will come, hopefully starting here at Flushing Meadows.

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski playing together in their first-round match at Wimbledon

‘People have been asking about the Great Wall of Noob’

I played with my brother Andy at the Washington Open last month, our first tournament together for a few years, so that was cool.

What made it particularly special is that we didn’t know if we would ever play on court together again because of everything he has gone through in the past couple of years with his hip injury.

We earned a decent win against and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, played some good stuff and there was one particularly memorable point which we won with both of us at the net that led to Andy describing us as the ‘Great Wall of Noob’ on Instagram.

That had a lot of people asking what a noob is! So… if someone said to me ‘you’re a noob’ it would mean you’re a bit of a numpty, a bit of an idiot. It’s a negative connotation but we don’t use it that way – it’s just a funny thing between us that we’ve used since we were kids.

Back to a more serious note… I don’t know if I will play doubles with Andy again in the future.

I haven’t spoken to him about us playing together in the Davis Cup but I’m sure he would love to play in Madrid if he is able to.

We always love playing for our countries and some of the most memorable matches of our careers have been playing Davis Cup for our country because of the atmosphere and energy created by some amazing support.

But for now his focus is playing singles again.

Hopefully he can have a good run until the end of the season and play a lot of matches, regardless of what level that is, then be ready to start again in January feeling fit, strong and ready to compete in the biggest events there are.

As well as playing with Andy in Washington, I played against him in the doubles in Cincinnati a couple of weeks later – that was pretty weird!

We just had to get through it. I thought to myself ‘It is an hour and a half of my life, get your head down, compete and that’s the end of it’.

The match was a little flat because no-one is getting too fired up and in each other’s grills – but, of course, I’m glad I was on the winning side.

Jamie Murray and Andy Murray

Mini-golf and eating steaks helped build British camaraderie

With Andy being in the States just for the doubles it meant we could spend more time together and do brother stuff.

We spent a lot of time practising together in Washington and hanging out off the court because we were on the same schedule. That is not normally the case at these events because he is playing singles and has a different schedule.

So I’m sure that will change now he’s back on the singles tour.

In Cincinnati, there was a group of us British players and coaches all hanging out together, which was fun.

There are more Brits playing in these events so there is more camaraderie and we all get on well.

In Mason, Cincinnati, we were all in the same hotel and there is not a lot going on so we would go to Whole Foods – which says it is ‘America’s healthiest grocery store’, apparently – and there was a butchers and fish market inside where you chose your food and they would cook it for you.

Jamie Murray Instagram post

You could get a steak for $15, cooked unbelievably well by the chef in the back – in that would cost you about $70. We were filling our boots!

We would sit around the table for dinner and then go back to the hotel to play mini-golf.

Our hotel had an artificial putting green so we were playing there every night.

We played alternate shots in pairs with a random draw for partners and I only managed to win once. But it was great fun.

‘I want to play as long as I can because you can’t replace that buzz’

You might have seen I launched my own YouTube channel earlier this year which aims to give a behind the scenes look at the life of a Tour player.

Earlier this week I posted a video about my fitness workouts and recovery, which are vital in prolonging my career for as long as possible.

Every former player I talk to says play for as long as you can because nothing compares to that feeling of winning matches.

If I look after myself and continue to have a ranking at the top of the game then why would I stop playing?

It’s a great life and nothing can compare to going out to play on centre court at a big tournament in front of a lot of people.

That buzz you get, that adrenaline, I feel like it would be tough for me to recreate that in something else I would do in life.

As I get older you start to think about more that you will do after playing because you realise you can’t go on forever.

I guess there are a lot of things I could potentially get involved in.

I was on the ATP player council for a few years until recently and you learn a lot more about how the tour and the tournaments works.

I’m also involved in the Murray Trophy – the new challenger event in Glasgow – so that is a new experience for me as well.

I’d like to coach, but not necessarily coaching on the tour, especially after travelling around the world for so long as a player.

But I’d like to help the development of the younger kids in our country because I think there are so few people who have done what Andy, myself and a few other Brits have done.

That is in terms of getting to the top of the game, knowing what commitment that entails, the sacrifices that are required and the levels you have to be aspiring to at certain times of your development.

You never know when you are going to stop and what opportunities are available at that time so timing can be a huge factor.

I maybe 33 now – but I’m not planning to stop for a good while yet.


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