A glimpse into the career of Curaçaoan Wimbledon Champion Jean-Julien Rojer


This article by David Waldstein appeared in The New York Times.

Andy Murray had a tough couple of days at his local tennis club. On Friday he lost in a semifinal in men’s singles to Roger Federer on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, and on Saturday he watched from the seats of the same court as his older brother, Jamie, lost in the doubles final.

With his brother playing in his first men’s doubles final, Andy Murray would never have offered the opposition any advice before the match. But afterward, despite his disappointment, he was more than willing to offer some tips to the winning pair.

Murray, the 2013 singles champion, told his friend Jean-Julien Rojer, who along with Horia Tecau had just beaten Jamie Murray and John Peers by 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4, that it was difficult for him to watch the match because his brother was losing. But then Murray told Rojer exactly how he and Tecau should savor their title: For starters, they should do more than he did.

Rojer responded that he and Tecau did not drink or party very much.

Tecau and Rojer, who are good friends, vowed that they would indeed celebrate. Tecau, particularly, had good reason. A 30-year-old Romanian, he had lost three consecutive Wimbledon doubles finals from 2010 to 2012 and was starting to hear that he would never break through.

“Everybody told me before, ‘I feel sorry for you; you lost three finals,’ ” Tecau said.

But Tecau was not worried, he said — at least not until he woke up Saturday morning. His nerves were so bad, Rojer said, that it was virtually impossible for Tecau to eat the eggs Tecau had prepared for them for breakfast.

The banter between the two players is an example of the friendship Tecau believes got him over the final obstacle.

“I’m much closer to Jules than I was with my previous partners,” Tecau said. “We were friends way before we started playing together. When you have a friend on the court with you, you know those tough moments. We usually have super tiebreaks in finals because you have someone that’s always there by your side.”

That was not to dismiss Tecau’s relationship with Robert Lindstedt, his partner in all three of his losses in Wimbledon finals, including a 2011 defeat to Mike and Bob Bryan. Tecau said that in the moments after he and Rojer won on Saturday, he received a congratulatory text from Lindstedt.

“I can’t reproduce the words,” Tecau said, indicating that they were profane. “But he was very happy. He told me, ‘This is how you should play the finals.’ ”

When the match was over, though, Rojer, 33, displayed far more emotion, for he, too, had never won a Grand Slam doubles title. In fact, Rojer had never made it to a final in a Grand Slam doubles event. This year, he and Tecau lost in the semifinals at both the Australian Open and the French Open.

Rojer is from Curaçao, a Caribbean island known less for producing tennis stars than for producing Major League Baseball players, like Andruw Jones, Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons.

He is friendly with both Murray brothers and was a guest at Andy Murray’s wedding to Kim Sears in April. Rojer lives in Miami and spends time with Andy Murray there. But there was no doubt which team Murray would be supporting.

After Murray lost his semifinal match to Federer, he said he was probably too nervous to watch his older brother play. He had watched Jamie Murray win the mixed doubles title with Jelena Jankovic in 2007, and he said it was agonizing.

But on Saturday he slid into a seat wearing a green pullover sweatshirt as the crowd buzzed. Jamie Murray did not see his brother as much as hear him.

“I didn’t know he was coming till I heard him shouting,” Jamie Murray said.

Murray and Peers, who were seeded 13th, beat last year’s champions, Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil, in the third round. Tecau and Rojer were seeded fourth and were on the same side of the draw as the Bryan brothers, who lost in the fourth round.

As for the celebration plans, Rojer said his and Tecau’s families would have to wait until Sunday to get their full attention because he and Tecau were going out on the town. Tecau promised a rollicking time.

“You might read it in the news tomorrow,” he said.

For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/sports/tennis/after-slow-rise-wimbledon-mens-doubles-champions-are-advised-to-party-hard.html?emc=edit_th_20150712&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=41473240

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