Tennis will make its Commonwealth Games debut at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex in Delhi on Monday and Mhairi Brown, Colin Fleming, Jamie Murray and Jocely Rae will create a piece of history for themselves when they become the first Scottish players to step out on court in Commonwealth Games competition.
The small squad of four players will represent Team Scotland in all five events – men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles – in a competition where the top seeded positions are dominated by Australia and hosts India.
Both Fleming and Murray will compete in the men’s singles event. Fleming opens up against Welshman Chris Lewis with a match against sixth seed Frank Statham (New Zealand) the likely reward for the winner, whilst Murray will play Rodney Carey of the Bahamas in his opening tie with the prospect of an Anglo-Scottish tie against James Ward in the second round.
In the women’s singles, which includes six players ranked in the top 250 in the world, Mhairi Brown is Scotland’s only competitor. Brown already has experience of a multi-sport event – she was part of the Scottish Team who won a silver medal at the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games in Edinburgh in 2000. She will open her singles campaign under the glare of the TV cameras, complete with Hawkeye, on R.K. Khanna’s Centre Court with a tough first round match against Australian sixth seed Olivia Rogowska.
There is also a tough opener for Fleming and Murray in the men’s doubles when they face second seeds and home favourites Rohan Bopanna, who was runner-up in the US Open men’s doubles last month, and his partner Somdev Devvarman. The Scots are in the same half of the draw as English third seeds Ken Skupskie, Fleming’s regular doubles partner, and Ross Hutchins.
In the women’s double Brown will partner Jocelyn Rae, the top young GB player based in Nottingham. They open up against sister-act Jacklyn and Tara Lambert (Bermuda) with home favourites and fourth seeds Rushmi Chakravarthi and Sania Mirza awaiting the winners in the next round.
Rae also faces the prospect of a match against Mirza and partner Leander Paes in the mixed doubles, but only if she and Fleming can overcome a tricky first round tie against Australians Matt Ebden and Sally Peers.
Murray, who won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2007, will partner Brown in the mixed. They may also find themselves facing an Aussie couple, top seeds Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova, if they beat their first round opponents Jalia Nanfuka and Duncan Mugabe of Uganda.
Tennis Team Leader Peter Nicolson commented: “It is a mixed draw for our guys with some tough opening round matches against seeded opposition as well as some home favourites who will no doubt have a noisy home crowd on their side.
“But all our players are looking forward to stepping out on court and becoming the first Scottish tennis players to compete in the Commonwealth Games. They are all well prepared and ready to compete and I’m sure they will do us proud.”
The tennis competition runs from 4-10 October.