Jamie Murray has launched a broadside at the French Open, accusing organisers of having a ‘we don’t give a f*** mentality’.
Britain’s best-known doubles specialist also described the official hotel in Paris as ‘absolute toilet’ and criticised the reduction in prize money for his hard-pressed colleagues in the two-person code.
With the Covid crisis ongoing and only relatively small crowds permitted at Roland Garros over the coming fortnight, the clay court Grand Slam has had to tighten its belt again this year.
A furious Jamie Murray has hit out at French Open organisers in an X-rated rant on Twitter over their decision to slash the doubles prize pot
Overall prize money has been cut by 10.53% to £30 million, although early round singles losers have had theirs held at the same level. First round departures will still take home £51,000 each.
The reductions for doubles players have been more severe, with pairs falling at the opening hurdle of the men’s and women’s doubles getting just £5,000 each.
This has riled the older Murray sibling, who also made reference to the fact that the tournament has changed its date for both its last editions, this latest one meaning it encroaches on the grass court season.
The older Murray brother will play at Roland Garros with doubles partner Bruno Soares (right)
The British tennis star, 35, also slammed the Novotel in Paris (pictured), which is the official accommodation for lower ranked and doubles players
‘On top of twice moving their event dates to suit themselves the FFT continues their ‘we don’t give a **** mentality by cutting the doubles prize fund by 23%,’ said Murray. ‘Thanks for actively supporting all players across the tour.’
He then went on to comment on the official accommodation for lower ranked and doubles players, the four-star Novotel near the Eiffel Tower, which costs £143 a night.
‘Ps your official hotel for doubles players is absolute toilet. PPs Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to bring one team member to support us during the event.’
The comments of Murray, a well-respected member of the locker room and a part-time tournament organiser himself with his Battle of the Brits events, are likely to be shared by others.
They are also likely to reflect the sense of cabin fever among some of the player cohort as they live under restrictions. Paris is currently under a 7pm curfew, although players are allowed out of the tournament and hotel bubble for an hour a day to walk or run, providing they do not visit shops or restaurants.
Despite the UK being more advanced in terms of vaccinations and opening up, the rules are likely to be even stricter when they head to these shores for the grass court events.
The qualifying event is taking place this week, with the main draw due to start on Sunday. The French Tennis Federation did not immediately respond for comment.
And Jamie’s not the only guest to slate the Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel hotel…
Jamie Murray described the hotel as ‘absolute toilet’ and although it is rated a four-star, the Novotel near the Eiffel Tower has received mixed-bag reviews on TripAdvisor, with an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5.
One person who stayed at the hotel recently gave it a one-star review, writing: ‘It smelt musty, cleaners always try to cover it by spraying perfume. Dirtiest carpet and smelliest of all Novotels.’
Other people who gave it a ‘terrible’ rating complained of the rooms being too warm and overpriced.
Another traveller wrote on the review site: ‘Read reviews about rooms being warm during the night and they were correct. Worst two nights in a hotel and I travel a lot on business.’
Another said that it was ‘extremely disappointing for a four-star hotel’.
However, others have enjoyed staying at the hotel. One reviewer said they would ‘definitely recommend’ it, saying: ‘The facilities were excellent and the hotel was close to the city centre which was great.’
Another reviewer said: ‘Stayed for three nights and just loved the hotel. Staff were super friendly and the hotel is just a 10 minutes walk to the Eiffel Tower.’
Overall, the hotel has had 1,252 five-star reviews (excellent), 2,227 four-star reviews (very good), 1,345 three-stay reviews (average), 577 two-star reviews (poor) and 350 one-star reviews (terrible) on TripAdvisor.