Tennis: Marray is ready for title defence

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A year ago Jonny Marray was preparing for Wimbledon with no fear of playing anyone alongside doubles partner Freddie Nielsen.

Now 12 months on and he’s going into the Championships at the All England Club in exactly the same frame of mind but for completely different reasons.

Sheffield’s Marray will return as champion in the doubles with new teammate Colin Fleming after a season competing with the world’s best on the ATP Tour.

He has got there by right after his brilliant performance last year and he’s had a solid season, which was highlighted by an appearance in the final of last week’s Aegon International in Eastbourne.

He told The Star that he’s looking forward to beginning the defence of his title: “It has been a decent season so far. I had a problem sorting a partner out at the beginning and then both me and Colin have had injuries.

“You always want to have done better but we’re coming into form.

“We both like to play on the grass - I think it suits our game even thought it’s not something we’ve necessarily grown up on.

“But being a British player you tend to get more access to it as you’re coming through.

“We’ve played all the teams that will be fancied. No one scares us but no one knows who will win it.

“Last year not many people would have picked me and Freddie!”

Marray and Fleming have been seeded ninth for the tournament and drawn against Slovakian pair Martin Klizan and Igor Zelenay.

They’re not on the schedule for today but British No 1 Andy Murray is as he begins his quest for a first Wimbledon title in the men’s singles.

The US Open champion, who also won Olympic gold at Wimbledon last summer, has a potentially tricky first round against Germany’s Benjamin Becker.

Opening play on centre court is reigning champion Roger Federer who will take on Victor Hanescu of Rumania. Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova are also in action on the show courts, where play will start at 1pm. Outside courts begin at 11.30am.

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