Tennis: Jonny to begin in Auckland

Jonny Marray
Jonny Marray
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Sheffield’s Jonny Marray will miss the opening tournament of the 2014 ATP World Tour season and begin his campaign in New Zealand.

The 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion is unable to take part in the year’s opening tournaments in either Qatar or Brisbane due to a prior commitment and will instead make his season debut with new partner Paul Hanley at the Heineken Open in Auckland on January 6.

Last year Marray played in Qatar and reached the semi-finals alongside Germany’s Dustin Brown. He then switched to Brazilian Andre Sa for the Heinken Open, where they were knocked out in the first round before reaching the last 32 at the Australian Open in Melbourne, again with Sa.

Marray said he can’t wait to return to the court: “I’m looking forward to the start of the season and teaming up with my new partner Paul Hanley.

“I’ve had a really good preseason and feeling fresh and positive heading in to the New Year.”

Marray, aged 32, is hoping for strong performances in Auckland and Melbourne to boost his ranking for when the Tour returns to Europe in February.

Currently ranked 41st in the world - Hanley is 66th - the ATP250 series events are open to the pair but it’s unlikely they would qualify for the more prestigious ATP500 or Masters Series tournaments.

However, a couple of good results in Auckland followed by a long run at the first major of the year in Melbourne would significantly boost their standings.

* Great Britain’s Dan Evans, who won a British Series tournament at Graves Tennis Centre as recently as last year, has qualified for the main draw in Qatar alongside Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

World No 150 Evans beat Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2 6-2 yesterday.