From the times online:
Jamie Murray’s search for the doubles partner to take his career to the next level is not only critical for him, it has also become a vitally important exercise for John Lloyd, the Great Britain Davis Cup captain. Here this week, the brothers Murray combine to get a kick out of applying flesh and blood to the competition, but another event, in far more frenzied surroundings, is Lloyd’s raison d’être.
It is not as if the captain’s every waking moment is consumed with thoughts of Argentina, but it is getting that way. A first-round World Group tie in Buenos Aires in February is going to be the sternest test faced by a Britain team in which, as of today, only the Murrays are assured of a place. Hence Lloyd’s arrival here and his long chat with Jamie yesterday, testing the waters of the Scot’s mood and prospects.
Jamie is as eager to play as his sibling, having arrived for the BNP Paribas Masters on Friday, finding the place so free of hitting partners that he practised with his mother, Judy. The brotherly combination here is a stop-gap arrangement as Jamie continues to see who he can tempt to join him for the 2008 campaign and beyond.
Leander Paes, of India, had been his first choice, but that arrangement was scuppered and he then approached Kevin Ullyett, of Zimbabwe, who has agreed to join him until Jonas Björkman, the veteran Swede, returns to the tour for a final year after the birth of his second child, which is due in January.
For Jamie, it is disconcerting; for Lloyd, the need for his senior doubles player to have as much quality play as possible in January is overriding. There is an increasing prospect of the captain plumping for a noted doubles player in his four-man squad for the tie against Argentina, given that Andy Murray could not be expected to play three consecutive days on the clay and in the rancorous atmosphere guaranteed in Buenos Aires.
As for the wisdom of playing doubles here in such a potentially momentous week, Andy said yesterday: “I told Jamie last week I’d play and with the new rules [there are no advantage points and no deciding third set on the ATP Tour], it will be good for me because I’ll get a feel for the court and what it’s like, which will help me going into my singles.”
Andy will play the winner of this morning’s match between Jarkko Nieminen, the Finn who reached the final in Basle last week, and Juan Monaco, of Argentina, as the pulsating race for a place in the Masters Cup goes to the wire. The focus here has been on singles places in Shanghai, but it is just as tight in the doubles, where Björkman and Max Mirnyi have to win their match tomorrow to guarantee qualification. Their opponents are likely to be Rafael Nadal and Feliciano López, the Spaniards.
Poor Jamie... I don't doubt his decision to split with Booty was the right one as they seemed to be struggling from Clay court season onwards.
BUT after Paes made all those overtures about sensing potential in Jamie even before his winning streak with Eric, and them dropping him for Damm... I think Jamie has been left flapping in the wind a little.
Luckily he's young and has managed to persuade some top names to play with him... but this is not ideal as we come to the end of his season