Venus and Serena - the American Williams sisters - are household names across the globe. Another tennis sibling pair, less well publicised, is the Scottish Murray brothers. Their success to date is more limited than that of the Williams sisters, but Andy and Jamie Murray have achieved huge gains for British tennis.
Jamie Murray’s speciality is mixed doubles. In 2007 he reached the semi-finals of the US Open. In 2008 he and Liezel Huber won the US Open. Jamie won the Wimbledon mixed doubles final with Jelena Jankovic in 2007. This was followed by two Wimbledon final losses in 2008 and 2009. He has played less in 2010 as his brother’s star continues to rise – or some would say flicker, for Andy Murray has not yet won a Grand Slam tournament.
The Murray brothers started playing tennis young, and played at international level as juniors. Andy has come through as the sibling more suited to the fierce competitiveness of the singles game.
Andy Murray has reached four Grand Slam finals. In the US Open (2008) and the Australian Open (2010) he was beaten by Roger Federer, widely acknowledged as the best player in the world. He reached Wimbledon semi-finals in 2009 and 2010, and many top players have said it will not be long before he wins his own Grand Slam final. His 2010 semi-final against Rafael Nadal was a great match, but his opponent, winning in straight sets, proved himself superior. Nadal looked more comfortable, more sure about the court, more at ease with himself and his game and he proved himself a gracious winner.
In the UK the term “Murray mania” has become common parlance, describing the idolisation that surrounds Andy Murray in the hope that he can become the first British man in over half a century to win the men’s Wimbledon crown.
The Murray brothers come from Dunblane where in 1996 Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and one teacher at the local primary school in the Dunblane Massacre. This event had huge impact in a small, close-knit community.
Whilst not something the brothers often talk about it is an event that may have sharpened their appreciation of the life they were given and their hunger to achieve. Yetunde Price, Venus and Serena Williams’ personal assistant and half-sister, died in 2003, the victim of a shooting in Compton, Los Angeles. So both families have had to deal with sudden trauma, its aftermath and the shaping of life after people they thought would always be with them have gone. Jamie, Venus, Andy and Serena have embraced the benefits of triumph over adversity. They have continued to build on their dreams and aspirations, achieving sporting excellence at the highest level on an international stage.