Jonathan Marray is determined to prove he is no flash in the pan by building on his stunning triumph in the Wimbledon men’s doubles competition.
The 31-year-old from Sheffield won an emotionally charged final on Saturday night with partner Frederik Nielsen of Denmark, defeating Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania on a packed Centre Court in front of a TV audience of millions.
The five-set victory made Marray the first Brit to lift the Wimbledon men’s doubles trophy since 1936 netting him a cool £130,000 in the process, more prize money than he has collected in the last five years put together.
It also means Marray, a journeyman player all his career who only got into Wimbledon this year on a wildcard, can now expect automatic entry into the sport’s other Grand Slam events in New York, Paris and Melbourne rather than competing in minor tournaments around the globe watched by sparse crowds.
“It is going to make a big, big difference to me, of course it is,” says Marray who came close to quitting the sport due to a combination of injury and his plummeting world ranking. “Every round I won I was kind of keeping tabs on where my ranking would be because it obviously gets me into better tournaments throughout the year. I’m 31 but I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give. In doubles, players tend to play on a lot longer than in singles.
“At the moment I don’t really feel any different or anything. It’s just like winning another tennis match. I suppose it will take time to sink in. When you see your friends and family and speak to them about it over the course of the next few days, then I’m sure it will sink in a bit more.”
And as for that six figure pay cheque? “I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest with you. But I’m sure I will at some stage!”
The result was greeted at Wimbledon by ecstatic scenes both inside the Centre Court and outside on the area of banking unofficially known as ‘Henman Hill’ where hundreds of people braved the rain to watch Marray and Nielsen on a giant TV screen. As one drenched spectator said, “Tonight this is Marray’s Mount!”
Marray and Nielsen now aim to play together as a doubles team whenever possible, having only joined forces for three tournaments prior to this Wimbledon. “Freddy still wants to play singles whereas I’m a doubles specialist, but after this we’d be mad not to try and do it more often when our schedules allow,” adds Marray. “I’ve known Freddy a long time. I know his game and I thought we would play well together.”