Even Wimbledon champions are forced to risk missing top tournaments in the “last-minute scrabble” for a doubles partner.
Sheffield’s Jonny Marray won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon in 2012, but admits he has travelled to tournaments with no plan whatsoever.
The 33-year-old jetted to Indian Wells in March unable to convince anyone to join him on court.
As the registration deadline loomed, Wimbledon’s reigning men’s singles champion Andy Murray filled the breach.
“In Indian Wells this year I went there without a partner,” said Marray of the March tournament in California.
“I’d asked Andy to play with me, and he said ‘if you can’t find a partner, if you can’t find anyone I’ll be happy to play’.
“I was asking around and not finding anyone, but I didn’t really want to ask Andy to play, because obviously singles is his priority and it’s a bit of a favour for me obviously for him to play. I ended up having to ask him in the end.
“I was literally asking all the top singles guys, all the top 20 guys, which sometimes you don’t like doing.
“But at the end of the day I’d paid for my flight over and my accommodation for the past couple of weeks to prepare, so I wanted to get in.
“So you’ve got to bite the bullet and go around asking.”
Marray – champion two years ago alongside Denmark’s Freddie Nielsen – enjoyed a straight sets win playing with Australia’s John-Patrick Smith. They beat Igor Zelenay of Slovakia and Andreas Siljestrom (Sweden) 6-4 7-5 6-4.
But Beverley teenager Kyle Edmund was beaten in four sets when playing alongside Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine.
They lost 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.