HE’LL never get tired of hearing the description “Wimbledon champion” and it’s going to be trotted out a few more times this week when they introduce Jonny Marray to packed houses at London’s O2 Arena.
It’s fair to say that, begging the pardon of the rest of Sheffield and all those at Hallamshire Tennis Club, the city’s latest tennis star was very much an unknown until that remarkable doubles triumph down in south London last Summer.
Not any more he isn’t. That Wimbledon triumph - the first ever in men’s doubles there by a wild card pair - catapulted Marray’s profile and standing and earned him and Danish partner Freddie Nielsen their chance this week alongside the seven top doubles pairs in the world.
Marray competes at the big season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with the doubles event running alongside the singles event involving all the world’s top players (minus injured Rafa Nadal).
It’s televised and the 17,000 arena is expected to be a sell-out for every session so Marray will get exposure he would never have dreamed of before last June.
His £130,000 prize money from Wimbledon eclipsed his total earnings from his previous ten years and there is the chance of making the most of that success this week.
Doubles pairs get $65,000 (about £40,000) for being there and $25,000 for each success in their three group matches.
Marray and Nielsen start today against the Indian pairing Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, the 5th seeds, who won yesterday.
It is likely to be their last tournament together as Nielsen aims to concentrate on singles which means Marray will be seeking another partner - he played with Australian Paul Hanley when reaching the semi-finals of the Paris Masters last week, beating the world No 1 Bryan brothers on the way.
With a world ranking of 22, Marray has automatic entry into the top tournaments and so shouldn’t be short of offers for a future playing partner.
Whatever happens this week, Marray has his invite to the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year night on Dec 16...when he’ll be introduced as Wimbledon champion!