I really enjoyed the week’s event at the National Tennis Centre. Well played to Jamie Murray for a meticulously run event. The interviews he conducted that were available on social media set the tone. The togetherness of the players was clear for all to see on these. I think we all wanted to be a fly on the wall in the WhatsApp group they had setup.
I don’t think that there is a player that will be leaving the event with negative vibes. Similarly, as tennis fans, we were very grateful to have some live tennis during what would normally be the eve of Wimbledon. There was also over £100,000 raised for the NHS charities, so everyone was a winner. Speaking to the players and coaches during changeover obviously gave us a fascinating and sometimes very honest assessment of things. Murray mentioned how coming straight off the practice court and onto court meant they could cut some of the nonsense of the warm-up out. LOL. However, more than a fair point.
On with the tennis, Kyle Edmund won the Tim Henman Group after edging past Andy Murray. With Murray’s lack of match fitness, Kyle was expected to win this group. The Scot didn’t quite maintain his level in the latter stages of their round-robin match and that was crucial. James Ward and Liam Broady finished third and fourth. He seems to get a lot of grief and banter from everyone does Liam. He takes it well though. I always want to see him do well.
Evans obliged in the Greg Rusedski group. The British Number one was clearly pumped going into this and backed it up with very assured displays all week. He was unbeaten having won his three group matches against Jay Clarke, Cameron Norrie and Ryan Peniston. The performances against both Murray in the semis, having lost the first set 6/1 and then in the final against Kyle Edmund, show why he is the British Number One. Edmund was a little lucky to get past Cam Norrie in the last four. Norrie was playing well last week. A few did mention how he had been training in New Zealand for the past ten weeks and that he and Evo and had been the standout performers in practice.
Murray who got better as the week progressed had played an unbelievably aggressive and accurate first set against Evo. Evans didn’t panic though and worked his way into it. The level was high from here on. Against Edmund, he had too much variation and this was a very important win having lost to him in Eastbourne a year ago. 6/3 6/2 didn’t flatter him on the day. For me personally, it is no more than he deserves. The appointment of Kieron Vorster is also looking very shrewd. I can see why Evo wants to be playing at the moment. He really has been on fire. I’m gutted for him that he will play no ATP ranking events on grass this season. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be motivated beyond belief come this time next year.
Evo came within a whisker of taking the doubles title with Lloyd Glasspool, losing out on Saturday night in a champions tiebreak to Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. Jamie and Neal would obviously have been favourites pre-tournament. They did lose their opener to Broady/Norrie but they were undefeated thereafter. It was a good week for Neal with Liverpool winning the Premier League and that was also a nice consolation for Kyle. Up the reds!!
The younger players did well. Ryan Peniston came in as a late replacement for Jack Draper and impressed. He took the talented Paul Jubb all the way before taking a set of Evans in the group. Have to say I really enjoyed watching Jubb v Peniston. Jay Clarke did well early on against Evo but picked up a knee injury.
There were some bits that made me chuckle over the week. I’m not sure Jamie Delgado will live down that moment where Marcus Buckland whispered to him ‘stop scratching your nuts’ very quickly. It was picked up clearly by the mics during the Muzza v Ward match. Judy Murray tweeted it and I’m not gonna lie I let it run on a loop and it got funnier and funnier. I have left a link at the bottom for those not lucky enough to have seen it. Muzza turned coach when Ward stepped in for him in the third-place playoff against Norrie. He was heard telling Ward “You’ve got fucking two weeks in Virginia to sit on your arse.” This was just to get a little bit more from Ward. Outside of that just look at the interviews on social media and you will have a good laugh.
That is it for this week, look after yourselves and each other.
Andy Del Potro