Andy Murray on Battle of the Brits: 'I prefer heckling to silence'

Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Jodie Burrage
Andy Murray, with Union Jacks team-mates Dan Evans and Jodie Burrage, at the National Tennis Centre
Battle of the Brits Team Tennis
Venue: National Tennis Centre, Roehampton Dates: 27 July - 2 August
Coverage: Follow live streaming of two courts on the BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayer from 11:20 BST every day.

Former British number one Andy Murray says he is revelling in the atmosphere created by the Battle of the Brits team event.

The event pitches two 13-strong mixed teams against each other across different formats over seven days.

"I would rather play with eight to 10 players heckling me from the side than playing in silence," said Murray.

"You want an environment where everyone is extremely competitive and there is a bit of atmosphere."

The behind-closed-doors event, organised by Murray's brother and doubles specialist Jamie, follows separate singles events for the British men and women, won by Dan Evans and Kate Boulter respectively.

Andy lost his first match in the team event as he and doubles partner Jodie Burrage were beaten 4-6 6-4 10-8 by Joe Salisbury and Emma Raducanu.

Murray believes there should be space for a similar mixed team event on the elite tour once the sport is free of coronavirus-related restrictions.

"I have maybe enjoyed this event more than the previous one. It was good because the matches were competitive, but this one maybe is just a bit more fun," he added.

"I think sports miss a bit of a trick with this stuff.

"The Hopman Cup, for example, was a brilliant event in my opinion.

"I played there a bunch of times and I loved it. It was a great event. Putting match-ups in tennis like Serena Williams and Roger Federer on the same court, it is so brilliant for our sport."

The Hopman Cup - tennis' only top-level mixed team event - was replaced in the 2020 calendar by the first men's team ATP Cup event, which took its customary early January slot.

However, speaking before the coronavirus pandemic, International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty said he was hopeful it would make a comeback in 2021.external-link

Bringing the bristle

Dan Evans
Evans is at a career-high world ranking of 28

Murray also revealed he is partly responsible for current British number one Evans' new facial hair.

The world number 28, who beat Kyle Edmund in straight sets on Tuesday, is sporting a moustache at the tournament.

"He was kind of growing one and I was rinsing him for that because in my opinion it's a poor look," said Murray.

"Then we were playing golf the following day and the losers had to grow a moustache for this event this week.

"He and his coach Mark Hilton got smoked on the golf course and they have both got pretty poor moustaches just now."

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