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Andy Murray and Serena Williams to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 2 Jul 2019
  • Andy Murray will team up with Serena Williams for Wimbledon mixed doubles
  • Murray's team confirmed partnership ahead of Wednesday morning sign-up deadline
Andy Murray and Serena Williams with their trophies after winning the men's and women's singles titles at Wimbledon in 2016 (PA Sports)

Andy Murray and Serena Williams will team up for mixed doubles at Wimbledon.

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It has been confirmed that Serena Williams will partner Andy Murray for the mixed doubles at Wimbledon 2019.

The partnership had been teased for a couple of days before Murray's team confirmed the news late on Tuesday night, ahead of Wednesday's 11am sign-in deadline for the mixed doubles.

Murray, who is not playing singles this year after undergoing a hip resurfacing operation in January when he was on the brink of retirement, made his return to competition in men's doubles at Queen's Club where Feliciano Lopez partnered him to the title, and played with Marcelo Melo in Eastbourne. His men's doubles partner for Wimbledon will be Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion who is already out of the singles competition.

Andy Murray trains at Wimbledon (PA Sports)
But Murray said at Queen's Club that he had been turned down by several WTA Tour players he asked to team up with him for mixed doubles, including new world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who said no on the basis that she was already committed to play women's doubles with Victoria Azarenka.

When members of the press suggested to Murray on Saturday, during a pre-Wimbledon press conference, that he team up with Williams, Murray gave a joking response but also paid tribute to Williams's calibre.

'Serena is obviously a brilliant player, has a great doubles record and is brilliant on grass obviously. She's arguably the best player ever,' he said, adding: 'So she'd be a solid partner.'

On Monday, Murray confirmed he was planning to play the mixed doubles and said he was '90% sure' who his partner would be. It is understood that Williams wanted to wait and see how her body, particularly the troublesome right knee she has been struggling with this year, reacted to her first singles match.

Williams played on Tuesday afternoon, beating qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2, 7-5, and afterwards joked with journalists about the possibility of playing with Murray, saying: 'If you guys really want it, maybe I'll do it.'

Williams also praised Murray for his achievements and qualities on and off the court.

'We're a lot alike on the court. I've always liked that about him. Talking about work ethic, his work ethic is just honestly off the charts. That's something I've always respected about him. His fitness, everything,' Williams said.

'To do what he's done in an era where there are so many other great male tennis players, so much competition, to rise above it, not many people have done it. He's actually one of the few. There are so many things to be admired. Above all, he really stands out, he really speaks up about women's issues, no matter what.

Williams in action on Tuesday (PA Sports)
'You can tell he has a really strong woman in his life. I think above all that is just fantastic.'

After a further discussion between the Murray and Williams teams on Tuesday evening, the partnership was confirmed.

Given that Murray and Williams between them own nine Wimbledon singles titles, it's easy to believe that they will be a formidable pairing, especially when one considers that Williams has also won five Wimbledon women's doubles titles with sister Venus as well as three Olympic gold medals. 

Williams has won the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon before, in 1998 with Max Mirnyi, but has only placed mixed doubles at a Grand Slam once since then, while Murray has mainly played at the Hopman Cup and at the Olympics in 2012 where he won a silver medal with Laura Robson.

Injury is likely to be the pairing's biggest concern. Murray is still in the earliest stages of his comeback, while the last time Williams played more than one discipline at a major - last year's French Open, where she partnered sister Venus in the doubles as well as playing the singles - it resulted in a pectoral injury which saw her pull out ahead of a fourth-round clash with Maria Sharapova. Moreover, Williams has retired in or withdrawn from three of the five tournaments she has played so far in 2019, although the American says that her knee is much improved after consulting with new doctors in Paris after she went out in the third round of the French Open. 

'Honestly, it’s the best I’ve felt since February. I’m feeling good that I can actually walk,' Williams said. 'I haven’t played many matches this year.'

If Williams is fit to play, however, there's no doubt that Murray could not have found a better partner than the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

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Andy Murray and Serena Williams to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon

Andy Murray's team have confirmed that the former world no. 1 will team up with 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams for the mixed doubles at Wimbledon this year ahead of Wednesday's entry deadline

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