Jamie Murray column: Finding a new doubles partner, Wimbledon hopes and brother Andy's comeback success

Jamie Murray column

During Wimbledon, six-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie Murray will be writing a column for BBC Sport. In his first, he discusses his new partnership with Neal Skupski, sleeping in his own bed during Wimbledon and little brother Andy's comeback to tennis.

Wimbledon will be my first Grand Slam tournament with my new partner Neal Skupski and I'm really excited to start playing with him.

I'd played with Bruno Soares for three-and-a-half years, which is a pretty long time in doubles partnership terms. We had a lot of success but I felt I needed a new challenge, different energies and a different perspective.

In choosing a new partner, the goal is to find the player best suited to you, someone who can complement your style and your strengths on the court.

Neal has been taught doubles the same way I have and we have similar philosophies. I think our styles and understanding are fairly similar.

But I don't know Neal that well even though he is British. He is a few years younger than me and over the past few years, he's played a lot of Challengers before playing more on the Tour, so it's now a case of spending time with him and getting to know him better. We need to learn how to communicate with each other, discuss game styles and strategies.

It's a big change for me. I spent a long time with Bruno and we are really close friends. We knew what made each other tick and how we would get the best performance out of each other.

I'm starting that process with Neal from scratch and it can take time. We're not living out of each other's pockets, but we make sure have lunch together and do our recovery together as we need to get used to being in each other's company.

Jamie Murray Instagram post

We need to find our feet as a partnership but we want to have a great tournament at Wimbledon. We're both good players with good game styles for grass, so our goal is obviously to try to win the tournament. We'll give it our best shot.

Neal and I have a tough opening match against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek. Dodig has been at the top of the doubles game for the last five years or so, he's won multiple Grand Slams, and Polasek is a top doubles player.

It will be a tough first match for both of us, I'm sure they're not super happy with the draw either. You can only beat the people in front of you, and we'll be going hell for leather to try to make that happen.

'Playing Andy would be weird'

Neal and I could meet my brother Andy and his partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the third round, and that would be weird. It's a strange situation but we'll just have to cross that bridge if it comes to it.

It's incredible how Andy has returned to tennis. He had an amazing run at Queen's, it was amazing to see him back playing, enjoying himself and having that buzz that he had been missing for so long.

I practised with him a decent amount in the build-up to the tournament, and it was great to see his progression in that time. He improved so much and I am sure he will continue to improve in the coming weeks as he builds back up to trying to play singles.

Watching him go through all the pain and surgery wasn't an easy situation. It was incredibly difficult and incredibly frustrating. But fast forward five months and he's back at Queen's playing and winning a trophy. It was a huge turnaround and I'm sure a huge confidence boost for him.

Last month, I said I wouldn't be playing doubles with Andy at Wimbledon because I wanted to give myself the best chance of winning the tournament.

It was bad timing for both of us. At the time that we needed to make decisions, we just didn't know if Andy was going to be in a position to compete at all, let alone be in a position to win tournaments. When we had to make a decision, I was stopping with Bruno and had to find another partner, and Andy wasn't sure at all if he was going to be in a condition to compete.

I'm obviously glad it has worked out well for him, it's amazing to see him back playing and it's awesome for doubles that he is out here competing on our tour, playing in the Grand Slams.

It gives our doubles event a lot more of a spotlight than it would perhaps normally have at these events. You've got one of the greatest players ever, one of the big four, out there playing doubles at Grand Slams and that never happens.

I hope that the powers that be, especially on the ATP Tour, can make the most of it.

Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski at Queen's
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski lost in the quarter-finals at Queen's Club

'It's nice to sleep in my own bed' - on Wimbledon

I love this time of year because after the French Open, I'm at home for six or seven weeks.

It's nice to be able to sleep in my own bed, to lie on my own sofa, watch the TV shows I like to watch and eat the food I like to eat, so I'm more relaxed and it's easier to get away from it all.

I've started watching Designated Survivor on Netflix. I didn't know this, but in America when they have the State of the Union Address, each party has one designated survivor who isn't there in case the Capitol gets bombed and everyone dies.

Kiefer Sutherland's character, who had no aspirations to be a politician, suddenly becomes president and all these tragedies keep cropping up and he's got to deal with. It's pretty good, I quite like it.

Wimbledon is our home Grand Slam so there's extra motivation to do well, and that's especially the case for me because I live in Wimbledon and train at the club all year round.

That maybe comes with extra pressure because there's a lot more focus on tennis in this country in these two or three weeks, but I look at that as a good thing.

I don't get out and about much during Wimbledon. It's easy to end up at the courts for a lot of the days because you're playing, but also because you bump into so many people you know, so it's a five-minute chat here and a five-minute chat there.

That takes up a lot of energy and it's quite draining. Now I'm pretty good at getting in, doing what I need to do, and then leaving.

Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport's Katie Falkingham.

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