Murray & Soares Lead Doubles Shakeups
Roland Garros is still in its early rounds, but there have been shakeups in the doubles world.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, three-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers and the 2016 year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team, competed in their final event as a pair, losing a three-setter in the first round. The British-Brazilian tandem, which captured 10 tour-level titles together — including the Sydney trophy this year — teamed for nearly three-and-a-half seasons.
Moving forward, Murray will partner fellow Brit Neal Skupski, and Soares will play with Mate Pavic, signalling the end of the partnership between the 2018 year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team of Pavic and Oliver Marach. Marach and Pavic remain alive at Roland Garros. The fourth seeds will play their second-round match on Friday in Paris
Skupski joining Murray means that he will no longer play with older brother Ken Skupski. In the past season-and-a-half, the brothers have won two ATP Tour titles and reached five additional tour-level finals. Neal is at a career-high No. 27 in the ATP Doubles Rankings and Ken is No. 45, one off the career-high he reached nearly nine years ago. Murray and Skupski won the Arizona Tennis Classic, an ATP Challenger Tour event, in March.
“The situation was tough as it’s an opportunity Neal cannot turn down due to Jamie’s experience and [ATP Doubles] Ranking. We made the decision as a family and I’m fully supporting them,” Ken told ATPTour.com. “I have lots still to offer and I do have players lined up for the upcoming weeks but I will make a decision after World TeamTennis who I will carry on playing with for the end of the season. It could be dependent on my Ranking. I have no intention to retire anytime soon as I’m [near] a career-high and hope I can push on towards the end of the season.”
Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who completed the Career Grand Slam in doubles together at the Australian Open, are not competing together on the Parisian terre battue as Herbert has opted to focus on his singles career. The pair, four-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers, had played every major together since the 2015 Australian Open.