Jamie Murray column: Playing until 40 and concerns over Colombian meat

February 4, 2020
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    Jamie Murray BBC Sport Columnist graphic

    Britain’s Jamie Murray reached another Grand Slam final alongside American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the Australian Open mixed doubles. In his regular BBC Sport column, the Scot talks about their three-set defeat, playing until his 40s and how eating meat in Colombia left him concerned about failing a drugs test.

    Losing the mixed doubles final and missing out on my eighth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open was very disappointing.

    Bethanie Mattek-Sands and I lost to Nikola Mektic and Barbora Krejcikova, but I know if we keep putting our games out there, then we will have more chances to win Grand Slam titles in the future.

    That’s the same with Neal Skupski in the men’s doubles, even though we had a disappointing tournament in Melbourne.

    My goals now, which will be my goals until I finish playing, are trying to win the French Open and Wimbledon. I would love to make a career Grand Slam.

    I turn 34 next week and I don’t see why I can’t play for a long while yet. Maybe I will play until my 40s.

    I’ll play for as long as I can. As long as I’m fit and healthy, as long as my ranking is at a point where I’m still able to compete at the biggest tournaments in the world, and as long as I enjoy doing it.

    Once you stop, you can never go back.

    I’d find it difficult to replicate those feelings and emotions in other walks of life knowing the experiences I’ve had on a tennis court.

    A lot of guys are playing into their 40s now, such as the Bryan brothers.

    People are looking after themselves much better, we’ve got all the sports scientists and with the scoring system we play on the ATP Tour, the endurance aspect has gone out of the game.

    If I’m fit and healthy, and feeling like I’d still get out there, compete and do myself justice, then why not keep playing into my 40s?

    ‘Beth and I will play together at Roland Garros’

    Barbora Krejcikova, Nikola Mektic, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray

    Murray and mixed doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands were beaten 5-7 6-4 10-1 by Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic in the Australian Open final

    In the mixed doubles final, Beth and I made a bad start in the match tie-break and it got away from us pretty quickly.

    We did well to turn around the first set. Beth played some amazing shots at the end of the first set to get that in the bag for us. Then I was unlucky to lose my serve in the middle of the second set.

    I thought Nikola played a great match start to finish and Barbora started to really play well in the last quarter of the match.

    They got a lot of momentum and we weren’t able to stop it, especially after a bad start in the tie-break. Overall it was a great final and they deserved victory.

    The match was played after the women’s final but it still felt as if there was a lot of energy on Rod Laver Arena.

    Obviously people are going to leave after the women’s final; that’s normal.

    It was late because we didn’t go on court until 10:30pm but there was still a decent crowd and atmosphere.

    Overall we are disappointed to lose in a final but we played a lot of great tennis over the two weeks and had a lot of fun.

    Beth is an amazing player, an amazing mixed doubles player and I’ve been lucky to get the chance to compete with her.

    We will play together at Roland Garros and in all the tournaments we can this year.

    I hope we can add to the US Open titles we won in 2018 and last year.

    ‘Neal and I must learn from disappointing early exit’

    Even though Beth and I just came up a bit short in the final, it was still a positive tournament.

    The men’s doubles was more disappointing for me and Neal.

    After reaching the US Open semi-finals at the previous Grand Slam, we had high hopes of going far in Melbourne.

    But we lost in the second round when we were beaten by American pair Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson.

    Having saved six match points, we eventually went out after losing a final-set tie-break 14-12.

    We were on top in the third set and let it get away. To go out in that way – to lose such a close match, after having loads of chances ourselves – was disappointing.

    The hope is that we will learn from that – and if that situation arises again, we will do a better job of seeing it out.

    We have to learn from those experiences and learn what we can do better in those moments.

    But overall it has been a decent start to the year. I’ve played a lot of matches and feel better with a lot things I’ve been working on.

    I feel that Neal and I can go ahead and have a good season.

    Neal Skupski and Jamie Murray

    Murray and Skupski were knocked out in the second round in Melbourne

    Drugs test concerns after eating Colombian meat

    I got a bit concerned when I saw Robert Farah, who is the world number one doubles player from Colombia, allege that he failed a drugs test because of the meat he had eaten when he was back home.

    My wife Alejandra is from Colombia, and we had been over to Bogota to see her family for a few days in December.

    I ate all sorts of food there and ate meat at family barbecues. It was only when I saw the story that I realised. That’s when I got a bit worried.

    Eating meat is a big part of the culture in Colombia and I was there for five days.

    I probably ate it a couple of times – it wasn’t like I’d eaten a whole cow! But perhaps that all it takes.

    I got tested a couple of days after leaving but when the results came back, they were fine, thankfully – and I had no further issues.

    Bogota is a fun city. The people there know how to enjoy themselves; they are warm people and are very friendly.

    There is a lot of good food there. The fruit and veg are amazing, and a different league to what we have in the UK.

    We didn’t get chance to do much sightseeing on this trip, I’ve done plenty there before; we were just spending time with Ale’s family and relaxing in the off-season.

    It was a great break and set me up nicely for a busy start to the new season.

    Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Melbourne Park

    Source

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