Citi Open Semifinalists Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares
Say Winning Is Most Important in Doubles

By Jane Voigt

August 3, 2018, Washington D.C. — What matters most in the doubles partnership of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares? “Winning,” they said, laughing. “That’s what keeps teams together. If not, you’re going to look for someone else.” 

And they did win Friday at Citi Open, defeating qualifiers Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak, 4-6, 6-1, 10-5. 

“I think we played a very good first set,” Soares said. “We had four break points. Yet particularly on my side, I felt like I didn’t rewarded for those good returns. But they played some good tennis to hold serve because we were making a lot of balls.”

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Jamie Murray (left) and doubles partner for three years Bruno Soares earned one berth in Citi Opens men’s doubles semifinals Friday. It will be played Saturday at The Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Photo credit Jane Voigt.

The pace and power of doubles allows for few errors, especially in matches outside Grand Slams that use no-ad scoring and the third set is a 12-point tiebreak: first to 10 by two. So the one break for Sharan and Sitak won them the first set. But things shifted significantly in the second. 

“In the first set they got a high percentage of first serves, which helps in doubles massively,” Jamie Murray said. “In the second set we started to really get on top of them. Like Bruno said, he started to get rewarded on his returns. And we served really well in the match’s tiebreak. That’s really huge in the important moments.”

This is the third year Murray and Soares have teamed up. They reached number one in the world in 2016 when they won the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. At Wimbledon this year, Jamie and Victoria Azarenka were finalists in Mixed Doubles. 

Both men, though, seem to have niggling knee problems. Friday, Soares stepped funny after a point and stopped, rubbing his knee. A few seconds later, though, he moved well. 

“I got heat and it was fifteen seconds of pain,” Soares said. “It’s okay now."

“I’ve had a lot of problems over the last year and a half,” Murray began. “I tape up a lot just for protection, just for support at the events.”

Both men have known Bob and Mike Bryan for many years, on and off court. Bob had hip surgery Friday in New York City and Soares had spoken to him. 

“I actually spoke to Bob this morning,” Soares said. “The surgery was all good, successful. He’s feeling good and recovery is coming. It will be good to have them back together because they do so much for doubles.”

Murray and Soares expounded on the virtues of the Bryan twins from a competitive angle and from a macro perspective, what they’ve contributed to tennis. 

“They’ve been playing at the highest levels for almost 20 years,” Soares began. “The season they were having together was incredible until Bob, unfortunately, got injured. But Mike kept playing and did really good. He won Wimbledon with Jack Sock, which is not really surprising; they are both amazing players. But, it’s really nice to see Mike playing so well at that age and number one in the world.”

“They’ve done so much for American tennis and so much for doubles,” Murray added. “They’ve played at the top and have dominated for such a long period of time, especially with the scoring where there are so many random results. They are still going strong. Like Bruno said. They had an amazing start to the year; and, it was unfortunate that Bob hurt his hip. We hope he gets his recovery and rehab, and gets back on court sooner than later."

Murray’s and Soares’s succinct answer, that ‘winning keeps teams together,’ shouldn’t come as a big surprise. This is professional tennis, not club tennis. But all along some might have suspected that enduring doubles partnerships depended on things akin to good feelings, and support when things go off the boil. Or that one is a strong server and returner while the other controls the net. Nope. It’s winning. Pretty simple, really.  

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013