(Reuters) – Doubles specialist Jamie Murray believes ATP must focus on the long-term future of the game and not just promote the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis that include his brother Andy.
The 31-year-old Scot, who won the Queen’s Club doubles title with Brazilian Bruno Soares, said the constant focus on the top players was undermining the quality of tennis the rest of the field was capable of producing on the tour.
The men’s singles field is dominated by Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal with only five of the last 40 grand slam crowns have eluded the quartet.
“The ATP have pushed these four guys (Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) which means the problem is that anyone not in the top ten isn’t very good and that’s not true,” Jamie told the Times.
“Andy lost last week to Jordan Thompson, who (was) 90 in the world, and everyone says it’s the worst loss ever, but the guy winning the US Open golf could be 100th in the world and no one says anything but ‘well played’.
“When people think of tennis they think of the four players at the top of the game. The sport isn’t promoted, the players are — and that will be a problem when these guys stop playing.”
The top three seeds Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic made early exits at the Queen’s Club last week but Jamie believes the tournament still had players in the draw that produced quality tennis for the rest of the week.
“At the Queen’s, the top three seeds lost on the Tuesday in the first round and everyone was panicking, saying it’s a disaster for the tournament,” he added.
“But you got an incredible final that was really exciting (the 35-year-old Feliciano Lopez beating Marin Cilic in three sets).”
Jamie and his doubles partner Soares, who also won in Stuttgart earlier this month, hope to win their third grand slam title together at next week’s Wimbledon.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)