Jonathan Marray has played at every Wimbledon since 2004. In that time the 30-year old from Sheffield has been consistently banished to the All England Club’s less fashionable courts, a mark of his relatively low ranking compared with the likes of Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Now the Wimbledon powers that be have arranged for his first round mixed doubles tie to take place in the spectacular surroundings of Court One, the preserve of champions such as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, who had both played on the court earlier that day.
Marray is used to competing in front of no more than a couple of hundred spectators, if that. This time there were thousands watching all eager to be impressed. No pressure then! The only down side for Marray was that this was his third match in the space of just two days having already played in the first and second rounds of the men’s doubles on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Inevitably fatigue took its toll. Marray and fellow Brit Anne Keothavong lost to the Italian pair of Andreas Seppi and Alberta Brianti in what proved to be a classic, the score of 3-6 6-4 8-6 telling its own story. Such was the high standard of play that all four players were given a standing ovation at the end.
“I wasn’t really looking forward to playing a third match in such a short space of time but then they said it was going to be on Court One and you just think ‘Wow!’” says Marray. “To play at Wimbledon is great but to get on one of the show courts is something I’d never done before. That’s the kind of thing you dream of as a kid, the reason you put in all the effort to do what you do. It was great fun and the atmosphere was good. I didn’t really want it to end.
“It would have been great to have won but it just wasn’t to be in the end. We were playing catch up with the schedule. But it’s great to have had the opportunity to play there.”