Tennis: Jonny confident ahead of Barcelona test

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Sheffield’s Jonny Marray and doubles partner Colin Fleming have been handed a difficult opening match at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Tuesday.

Marray, the Wimbledon doubles champion, and Fleming will take on fourth seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer in the first round of the ATP 500 Series tournament.

Pakistan’s Qureshi and Holland’s Rojer beat Marray and Fleming in straight sets in the second round of last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in the Principality but Marray says he’s confident of getting immediate revenge.

He said: “They’re a good pair who I know quite well from playing against them over the years. They both have a big serve and are good front runners if they take the lead.

“We want to get off to a good start and put some pressure on them. Anyone can beat anyone in the doubles matches on Tour, but if we keep putting the performances in then we’ll get our fair share of good results.”

The Barcelona Open is the second clay court tournament of the season for Marray and Fleming.

Before losing to Quereshi and Rojer they had beaten Freddie Nielsen - Marray’s doubles partner at Wimbledon last year - and Julian Knowle in the first round in Monte-Carlo. Marray, aged 32, said it was pleasing to get a win under their belts on the surface.

“Clay is a different proposition to the hard courts or grass,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to put the ball away and there’s a lot of ‘ugly’ points.

“I enjoyed it last year and had some good success - albeit on the Challenger Tour. We just want to keep playing well each tournament.”

Marray, who says he is “absolutely fine” after shaking off a calf injury and recovering from a hernia operation, will take a break from the ATP Tour after this tournament before a run of events that will go right through the rest of the clay court season and onto Wimbledon.

Masters Series in Madrid (May 5) and Rome (May 12) will be followed by either a warm up for the French Open (May 26) in Nice, France, or Dusseldorf in Germany.

After the French Open in Paris the grass season will begin with Marray and Fleming expected to play the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club in London (June 10) before Marray defends his Wimbledon title starting on June 24.

The Barcelona Open is an ATP World Tour 500 Series event. A victory in the first round would net the pair 12,500 Euro prize money between them and 90 ranking points each.

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