HIBS will have a Wimbledon champion urging them to serve up success when they tackle Hearts in tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited Edinburgh derby Scottish Cup Final.
Jamie Murray, who took the mixed doubles crown at SW19 in 2007 in partnership with Jelena Jankovic, has firmly nailed his colours to a banner under which his grandfather, Roy Erskine, served during the era of the Famous Five.
Like his brother, Andy, the older Murray sibling grew up regularly visiting Easter Road and was once a member of the Hibs Kids organisation. He can easily reel off the players and matches which grabbed his attention while ruing the fact he has had to pass up on the chance of a cup final ticket this weekend.
“I did have the chance to go to Hampden but, unfortunately, I have to travel the same day to a tournament in Nice,” he said. “I’m not too sure if the final will be shown on French television but I’ll certainly be following Hibs on the internet.
“It’s great that both clubs are through to the final and one set of fans at least will be going off into the summer feeling good. In Hibs’ case it hasn’t been a great season but this would help a lot.”
Murray revealed he will have relatives at the final. “My uncle and his wife are season ticket holders and I used to go along to Easter Road with them. I last watched Hibs against Rangers around the Christmas before last, they won 3-0.
“It was from the ages of about seven-ten that we mostly went along to Easter Road but one of my best memories is of the European match against AEK Athens 11 years ago. Hibs lost but it was a fantastic night.
“My favourite player has to be Michael O’Neill but I agree with the view that it might be as well he didn’t become manager when he was being tipped for the job as it might have turned out like Sauzee, another great player, and his fabulous reputation suffered a bit. Also, for me, among the best all-time Hibees were Mickey Weir, Derek Riordan and Russell Latapy.”
In his autobiography, Hitting Back, Andy Murray says: “Grandpa had played for Hibs in the 1950s with some of the biggest names in Scottish football: Willie Ormond, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull, Gordon Smith, Tommy Younger. Eventually he moved on to Stirling Albion (for £8 a week, £1 a point).
“Obviously growing up we all supported Hibs. I still do. We used to go and watch games pretty often when we were young.
“We even joined the Hibs Kids club. I didn’t enjoy it at first. It always seemed to be freezing cold and wet and everybody shouted and swore but we got more into it over time.”
On the tennis front, Jamie has spoken enthusiastically about a new doubles partnership he is about to establish with US-based Australian Carsten Ball, a former world No. 9 junior who previously qualified for the US Open singles before bowing out to superstar world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
“I’ll play with Carsten for the next five or six tournaments and see where we go from there. As for regaining the Wimbledon mixed title, I don’t yet have a partner lined up.
“Wimbledon was something that was great to win. It is something that is always with you but by the time Monday comes you are off to another tournament and it goes on from there.
“I’ve come close in a couple of US Opens and at the age of 26 I think I have four or five years on the doubles circuit to keep improving.
“I’m off to France for tournaments leading up to the French Open then the grass court season. With the Olympics this year as well it is a hectic schedule with a lot of big tournaments to look forward to and I’ll try to get the ranking up again.
“Getting back into the Davis Cup is something to aim at.
“Clay is probably not my favourite surface but I got through a round of the French Open last year and lost a close one to the Bryant brothers.”
Meanwhile, Jamie is backing his brother and fellow Hibee to continue improvements shown at this year’s Australian Open as he closes in on a first major title.
“Andy has made some improvements on his game and had an amazing run in Australia. He could take a lot out of the way he performed against Djokovic. He’s got to that position in tournaments before but hasn’t performed as well as he did in their meeting earlier this year.
“To take the best player in the world to the lengths he did can’t do any harm.”
• Jamie Murray is an ambassador for Set4Sport, a new programme from Judy Murray supported by RBS. Set4Sport showcases easy ways for parents to play sport with their children and develop sporting skills. Visit your smart phone app store to download the Set4Sport mobile app for iPhone and Android.