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Jamie nearly hung up racket before run to doubles final

By John Skilbeck

Jamie Murray has admitted he was close to quitting tennis before he and John Peers began the doubles journey that has led them to the Wimbledon final.

The partnership was proposed by Murray following the 2013 Australian Open, a tournament at which he and fellow Scot Colin Fleming were wiped out in the first round.

Murray was close at that point to sliding out of the world's top 100 doubles players. The cheques were becoming smaller, the tournaments were increasingly low-tier, many at Challenger rather than ATP tour level, and it was becoming almost unrealistic to sustain his career.

Teaming up with Peers has changed everything, and the pair will share £340,000 should they get the better of Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Romanian Horia Tecau in today's final.

"When me and John started playing together in January or February a few years ago, I think that for me was probably going to be close to my last effort to really try to get back," Murray said.

"The previous two years, I played a lot of Challenger tournaments, some tour events. But mainly played with loads of different people. It wasn't much fun for me. I wasn't really enjoying it.

"I think the opportunity came up to try to make something happen with John. Thankfully it's worked out and we're here."

Peers knew Murray had been a top-30 doubles player earlier in his career so was open to the suggestion.

"He dropped me a message just after the Aussie Open had finished. He said, 'What's your plans after the Aussie?'," Peers said.

"I said I was looking to try and play some of the tour events in Europe. I didn't have a partner. My partner at the time, John-Patrick Smith, was looking to play singles and play in a few more Challenger events.

"I said, 'I'll come and train with you for a week and play a few tournaments and see how things go'. And we're still going."

Murray will be targeting a second Wimbledon title, having triumphed in mixed doubles in 2007 with Serbian Jelena Jankovic.

They defeated a team consisting of Peers' fellow Australian Alicia Molik and Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman, who has gone on to become coach to Murray's brother, the men's World No 3 Andy Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in the singles semi-final yesterday.

The experience was then, and it remains, rather a blur for Jamie Murray.

"When I played before in the mixed final, it all came really fast. I didn't expect that to happen," he said.

"At that weekend I won, I played five matches in three days. We were constantly on court knocking out matches."

This time the 29-year-old intends to take home some clear memories, which will be all the better should he and Peers lift the trophy.

"I think all the hard work we've put in is paying off," Murray said. "We get to play on Centre Court again in the Wimbledon final.

"We want to play in a men's doubles Grand Slam final. We're getting the chance to do that. We're going to try to make the most of it."

Belfast Telegraph

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