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Jamie Murray column: Playing with brother Andy, preparing for the hard court season and enjoying sunny Scotland

In his latest BBC Sport column, Jamie Murray discusses his upcoming partnership with brother Andy in Washington, the hard-court season in the US and his recent holiday back home in Scotland.

My brother Andy and I will be teaming up in the doubles at the Citi Open in Washington next week and I am really looking forward to it.

I couldn’t play in Washington with my partner Neal Skupski because he is playing the World Team Tennis season in the US, which is a three-week commitment after Wimbledon.

I was always looking for someone to play with in Washington so it’s great that Andy is able to do it. I had asked Andy what his plans were for the summer while he was waiting to get some of the feedback from the physical testing he had been doing for his hip. Once he got the all clear, he was able to make a plan.

It’s been a while since we last played together at the Davis Cup in 2016 and a lot of our tennis together around that time was in tournaments like the Davis Cup and the Olympics, so I can’t remember the last time we played together in a normal tournament.

We practised together on Wednesday and we will do more when we get out to Washington – we’ll have a few days in which we can prepare and get ready for the tournament.

During practice, we tend to go through a few strategies and positioning, mainly for Andy’s benefit because he’s not as used to playing doubles. Recently, he’s obviously become more committed to it and he’s a great player who reads the game so well, so I have to just let him be him and play the game that he knows best.

We complement each other well on the court. His return is amazing and that can give me a lot of action up at the net, and when I’m there I can also help him out on his serve.

The Murray brothers last played together at the Davis Cup in 2016

We know each other’s games and I guess, because we are brothers, we are able to communicate that bit better and have more honesty than other partnerships. At the end of the day, partners can fall out but the difference with us being brothers is that we will always make up, so it makes it a lot easier.

That’s probably the reason the Bryan brothers, who have won 16 Grand Slam titles together, have been so successful over the years, because of that family bond and the natural communication they are able to have.

It’s all fun, I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good week there.

‘Neal and I will be successful’ – preparing for the US

I’m really looking forward to the hard-court season starting in the US. I always like this season and I feel like I’ve played good tennis in the last few years.

There are a lot of big tournaments; the Washington doubles field is probably the toughest of the whole year. It’s like a mini ATP Finals in terms of the field because the best 8-10 teams compete plus a few others.

You’ve then got the two Masters tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati and then it’s all preparation for the US Open, which starts at the end of August.

Once Neal and I hook up in Montreal, it will be full steam ahead for us. It has been a bit stop-start so far but I’m looking forward to getting back on court with him.

Wimbledon was obviously a big disappointment for us when we lost in the first round but I don’t doubt that we will be a successful team, but whether that is in the immediate future or the long term, I’m not sure.

‘It was nice to put the racquets away’ – on taking a break

After Wimbledon, I went up to the west coast of Scotland for five days with my wife Alejandra. We flew to Glasgow and then hired a car to drive up to Oban, Glencoe, then up to Skye and the Outer Hebrides, which was amazing. The scenery was incredible and while there was a lot of driving, we crammed a lot in.

It was good to get away. It was disappointing how Wimbledon finished for me and the first half of the year has been pretty intense, so it was nice to put the racquets away for a while and get away from tennis, and just enjoy a bit of Scotland.

It was nice to spend some quality time with my wife because she works full-time in communications and marketing and so doesn’t travel with me that much. She maybe comes to four or five tournaments a year. I always find that for players’ partners, it’s not that exciting because it’s a lot of hanging around while we train and prepare.

We went back to Dunblane for about a day and a half so it was nice to see some of the family. It’s always good to get home because I don’t get much opportunity to do so during the year.

Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Katie Falkingham

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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