Jamie Murray hopes brother Andy’s lowly ranking can be a trump card for Great Britain as they prepare to get their Davis Cup campaign under way in Madrid.
Britain will hope to take advantage of a generous draw for the new-look event when they face the Netherlands on Wednesday morning then Kazakhstan on Thursday, with the winner of the group progressing to the quarter-finals.
Andy is playing in the Davis Cup for the first time since the 2016 semi-finals but is in the unusual position of being the singles number two, with Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund battling for the number one spot courtesy of their higher rankings.
— Jamie Murray (@jamie_murray) November 18, 2019
That means Andy will take on the weaker singles player from each nation, for which he would be a clear favourite against most teams.
Jamie said: “Obviously it’s great for us to have Andy playing, that’s always going to increase our chances of doing well against whoever we play.
“It’s obviously a big advantage for us that he’s playing at number two in this competition so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
Britain’s success in Davis Cup in recent years, including their title win in 2015, has been built on Andy Murray’s excellence, and prowess in doubles.
The change of format has reduced the number of rubbers in each tie from five to three, with the doubles now played at the end instead of in the middle.
Jamie has mixed feelings, saying: “It (doubles) is potentially more important because obviously it’s two rubbers to win the tie but, equally, especially in the latter stages, it might not get played if the singles is 2-0.
“But all deciding rubbers will be doubles rubbers so, if you’re playing, you’re playing because it means something.”
Doubles at its finest 👍
— LTA (@the_LTA) November 17, 2019
Like Andy, Jamie is keen to give the controversial new format a chance to succeed.
“Just wait and see what happens,” he said. “There’s a lot of great players here, there’s a lot of exciting groups.
“I think it’s been cool for us to be a part of something different, it’s been cool to see all the guys here as countries and play with the country’s shirt, the colours and all that stuff.
“It’s exciting, I just obviously hope each individual country gets the support that helps create the atmospheres that people expect when they turn up to Davis Cup matches.”
Should Britain face a deciding doubles rubber, captain Leon Smith will have to decide whether to reunite the Murray brothers or keep Jamie with his regular partner, Neal Skupski, who has been named in the side for the first time.
Jamie and Skupski have been playing together since June and have gelled after a rocky start, reaching the semi-finals of the US Open.
Skupski, 29, said: “It’s been an unreal week so far. The atmosphere in the camp is really good.
“Obviously I’ve been the rookie of the week, giving speeches and stuff, but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“Practice has been going well. I’m not sure I’ll get the call up on Wednesday but I’ll be ready to play and see how it goes.”