When Jamie Murray announced back in November that he was splitting from partner John Peers, most people were left scratching their heads. The pair had reached consecutive Grand Slam finals and qualified for the World Tour Finals for the first time. So why make a change?
We are now one month and three tournaments into the New Year and no one is questioning the decision anymore. The older Murray sibling has paired up with 30-year-old Brazilian Bruno Soares and the new pairing has had quite a remarkable start to the year.
The pair fell in the semi-finals to the Lopez brothers in Doha but that has been their only loss to date. A week later they picked up their first trophy in Sydney, dropping just two sets en route and defeating doubles veterans Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea in the final.
Now they are set for their first Grand Slam final as a pair as they get set for Saturday’s Australian Open men’s doubles final against Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek. They have been in scintillating form in the Melbourne sunshine, and have dropped just a single set in their five matches so far.
Ahead of Saturday’s final Jamie Murray has said, “Those guys have been at the top of the game for longer than maybe I’ve been alive. They’ve won grand slams and Masters series, everything there is to win.
“They’ll come into the match today with a lot of experience. It will be a really difficult match but I’m hoping it’s difficult for them too.”
With any new doubles partner it is expected that there will be a period of transition as they learn each other’s game and form some sort of partnership. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares seem determined to dismiss this idea as a total myth and will certainly do that if they win on Saturday.
However, their instant success may be less surprising to them as it is to us as viewers. In a recent interview, Soares said “After the first week, I’d say I’m not surprised; if you asked the same question in December, I would say maybe a little more time. But, after we played two matches in Doha, I saw that we clicked really fast.”
“We know each other really well. We know our games really well. So, for me it was just a matter of getting together, playing a few matches. I had a feeling we were going to have an understanding pretty quickly.”
There is a feeling of togetherness between the two and Soares believes that their styles really compliment each other.
“Jamie is really good at the net, really fast. He puts on a lot of pressure. One of my abilities is to make balls from the back.
“When I’m playing well, I’m quite consistent on returns and second balls, so that allows Jamie to be aggressive and play his game really strong, and vice versa.
“He’s got a great serve. He helps me a lot when I serve. I don’t have a big serve. I have a decent serve but it’s not a weapon, so I need somebody at the net to help me out.”
Jamie Murray has been in the last two Grand Slam finals and has lost them both. However those were with John Peers. Now Murray is starting a new era, with a new partner. Can he begin that era with the one prize that has always eluded him?