Sheffield’s Jonny Marray set for busy time with new teammate

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SHEFFIELD’S Jonny Marray faces a crucial couple of months as he looks to cement his place as Britain’s best doubles player.

Marray, who won the Wimbledon doubles title last summer with Denmark’s Freddie Nielsen, will team up with Scotland’s Colin Fleming for the rest of the season starting with next week’s Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Although he’s nursing a sports hernia that awaits surgery when his tournament schedule allows Marray is confident he’ll strike up a good understanding with 28-year-old Fleming whose usual partner Ross Hutchins is undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He told The Star: “We’ve played a couple of times before on the Futures Tour and actually won tournaments. We also share the same coach so we’ve come through the same system.”

The pair, who may become the regular doubles’ team for Great Britain’s Davis Cup squad, will have high hopes of progressing far in the ATP 250 Series tournament in France.

From there they’ll play in the ATP 500 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, which starts on February 11 before travelling to America for events in Memphis, Delray Beach, Indian Wells and Miami.

Marray, said: “We’re looking forward to it. Our doubles rankings (Marray is World No 15 and Fleming No 26) allow us to play in any tournaments we want. Hopefully we can have some success.”

n Meanwhile at Graves Tennis Centre the last four in the Aegon GB Pro-Series Sheffield event will go head-to-head today for a place in tomorrow’s final. With the winner set to receive £907 from the total prize fund of $10,000 there is a big difference to just £316 as a losing semi-finalist.

Yesterday David Rice, who was runner-up last year, booked his place with a 1-6 6-3 6-1 win over fifth seed Patrik Rosenholm. He’ll play American Christian Harrison who beat Rob Bloomfield.

In the other semi Dan Smethurst will meet fellow Briton Ed Corrie.

* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar