It’s been quite a year for the Murray brothers.
Andy has won titles on all three surfaces, lifted the coveted Wimbledon trophy, and become the first man ever to successfully defend an Olympic singles gold medal.
Collecting over $9,500,000 in prize money this year alone, the 29-year-old sits at a career-high second in the ATP world rankings. Just 915 ranking points behind Serbian Novak Djokovic, he now has the prestigious world No.1 spot in his sights.
But there’s one man a little closer to home who has already experienced the feeling of looking down from the top of the tree.
Jamie Murray, 15 months Andy’s senior, made history earlier this year becoming the first British male to reach No.1 in the doubles rankings.
A Wimbledon champion six years before his brother when he won the mixed doubles alongside Jelena Jankovic in 2007, Jamie is finally enjoying a greater share of the limelight.
“[Andy’s] got some work to do!” jokes Jamie, chatting to CNN Open Court host Pat Cash ahead of November’s ATP World Tour finals. “He’s trying his best though… he’s getting closer!”
Jamie Murray, OBE
Having won both the Australian and US Opens in 2016, Jamie was this week awarded an OBE for his services to sport and charity by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
“It’s funny because everything happened so fast for me,” he says. “In a period from 12 to 18 months I had all these great things happening.”
It’s been a long time coming. Growing up on the court, Murray started playing tennis when he was four, collecting tennis balls with Andy while their mother Judy coached older children.
As a 12-year-old he was on par with with Richard Gasquet and Rafa Nadal — the finest players of his age in the world.
And while he may struggle to suppress a smile when suggesting his more illustrious brother needs to catch-up today, it’s true that Andy hasn’t always ruled the roost.
“A lot of Andy’s drive as a young child and teen came from having an older brother who did everything better and before him,” Judy Murray told the ATP Tour. “When they play doubles together, Jamie is the boss.
The brotherly bond has always made them stronger.
“When Andy was on the tour and Jamie was really trying to break through, Andy was obsessed with his brother’s results,” says former world No.4 Tim Henman. “It was almost like he took more excitement from Jamie’s wins than he did from his own, and likewise.”
“I think people would expect Jamie to be jealous of Andy’s success, but that really couldn’t be further from the truth.”
World Tour Finals
Famous for winning the Davis Cup together for Great Britain, the Murray brothers have both qualified in their own right for this year’s ATP World Tour Finals in London’s O2 Arena.
Jamie will be aiming to take yet another doubles title with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares — having fallen down to No.4 in the world — but Andy has it all to do in the singles if he wants to usurp five-time winner, Novak Djokovic.
“Look, he’s had an amazing year,” says older brother Jamie. “He’s playing amazing tennis, and I think he has to if he wants to get to No.1.”
“I think he realized from what Novak was doing over the last couple of years that every time you pitch up at a tournament, you’ve got to be there to win it.”
Andy, Jamie and Judy will be hoping he can do just that.