The makeshift partnership of Colin Fleming and Jamie Murray will split over the next few weeks and months as the fall-out from Ross Hutchins' diagnosis with Hodgkin's Lymphoma begins to hit home.
Fleming and Murray, once regular partners and still good friends, were beaten 7-5, 7-5 by Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Michael Kohlmann of Germany in the first round here yesterday.
Fleming and Hutchins were the first alternates for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and had hoped to make a breakthrough in the grand slams this year.
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But after Hutchins announced his diagnosis, via Twitter, in late December, Fleming quickly made arrangements to play with Murray, but results have not gone their way in the past few weeks.
Murray said it was "up to Colin" whether they played together again in the future but Fleming said their respective rankings (26 and 78) made it almost impossible to get into the same events.
"We'd spoken about playing," Fleming said. "But a big aim for me was to play Indian Wells and Miami. I need to get into them, they're pretty tough cuts. We were hoping we'd have a good run here to try to boost our chances so this is a bit of a blow and we need to reassess things after that."
Both Fleming and Murray said they had been in regular contact with Hutchins as he begins six months of chemotherapy. The Englishman spoke last week about how staying positive would be key to his recovery and Fleming paid tribute to the way he was handling it.
"I speak to him via text and messaging pretty much every day," said Fleming, who told Hutchins he will be there to resume their partnership whenever he's ready.
"It's really inspirational how well he's doing. He started his treatment on the 10th and I know he said his treatment is fine but he said he's feeling a little bit nauseous. I think he's tired and he's enjoying being at home to rest up.
"But it's amazing. I know it's by message and stuff so you can't get a real feel for it but he's nothing but positive and strong and is wishing everyone to do well. He's not begrudging of anyone who's still playing. He's wishing everyone well and everyone wishes him well, too."
While Andy Murray was preparing for his second-round match with Joao Sousa, scheduled for the early hours of this morning, the Scot may well have tuned in to see how Novak Djokovic got on against the rising American Ryan Harrison.
Murray needed four sets to beat Harrison in the first round last year but defending champion Djokovic was absolutely irrepressible as he romped into round three with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
David Ferrer, the fourth seed, dropped a set against the American lucky loser Tim Smyczek and the eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic needed five sets to get past Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.