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Murray makes winning return to Wimbledon, sets sights on mixed doubles with Serena Williams on Friday

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 4 Jul 2019
  • Andy Murray and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won their opening men's doubles match at Wimbledon
  • Murray and Serena Williams start mixed doubles campaign on Friday, not before 5.30pm BST
  • Murray: 'The fun is back.'
Andy Murray celebrates winning a point with Pierre-Hugues Herbert during their men's doubles match at Wimbledon (PA Sports)

Andy Murray makes winning start in men's doubles and will start mixed doubles campaign with Serena Williams on Friday.

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Sir Andy Murray made a winning return to Wimbledon as he and partner PIerre-Hugues Herbert reached the second round of the men's doubles on Thursday.

Murray will begin his mixed doubles campaign with Serena Williams on Friday against Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi. The match is scheduled not before 5.30pm BST and has not been assigned a court, meaning that it will almost definitely take place on Centre or No. 1 Court after the conclusion of the day's singles action.

Murray and Herbert in action (PA Sports)
Murray and Herbert got off to a slow start on Thursday against Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert. Taking to No. 1 Court after Williams had completed a three-set win over Kaja Juvan to book her place in the third round, the quartet received a huge ovation which left Murray acknowledging the crowd with a low-key wave while Copil, Herbert and Humbert, for whom this kind of attention would be rare if not unprecedented, exchanged slightly bemused smiles.

Murray and Herbert were both broken in their opening service games and while the British-French pairing managed to retrieve the first break, they could not get the second back after a confident hold from Copil.

There was evidence of this being a brand new pairing on the Murray-Herbert side of the net as the two had plenty of miscommunications, darting the wrong way and leaving the court open, and they lost the first set 4-6.

However, Murray and Herbert broke early in the second set and never really looked back from there as they increasingly hit their stride and synchronized effectively. Even a ten-minute delay in play, as the roof over No. 1 Court was closed to allow the match to finish under the lights, did not disturb their rhythm and they wrapped up a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 victory in two hours and 31 minutes.

'It was nice. Little bit nervous at the start. It was great to get the win and nice atmosphere,' Murray told the BBC after the match.

Herbert, the more experienced doubles player of the pair after winning a career Grand Slam with Nicolas Mahut, added: 'We stayed together after the loss of the first set, we didn't panic.'

'As the match went on, I think we started to just get more comfortable with each other on the court, things were just happening naturally and that's how you want it to be in doubles,' Murray said.

Herbert and Murray between points (PA Sports)
Murray was seemingly in a cheerful mood and enjoying the competition, at one point high-fiving Copil after striking him with the ball at the net. Asked whether he had enjoyed the match more than some previous matches he'd played at Wimbledon, Murray said: 'Definitely more than 2017, [which] was not particularly enjoyable and then I didn't play last year. But yeah, every time I'm on the court now, it's great, because I'm just playing tennis again and I'm pain-free and healthy and it's nice. 

'It's what I've enjoyed doing since I was a kid and at times over the last few years I was not getting any enjoyment out of it. The fun's back and hopefully my hip will feel good for a while.'

Murray and Herbert move on to face sixth-seeded Franko Skugor and Nikola Mektic, a Croatian pairing who are ranked world no. 20 and world no. 11 respectively and won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Murray's attention, however, turns now to mixed doubles and his partnership with Serena Williams, with the two planning to practice on Friday before playing their match in the late afternoon or early evening.

Williams has a day off from singles on Friday before playing her third-round match against Julia Goerges - a rematch of last year's semifinal - on Saturday.

'It made sense for me because I really could use some matches at this point,' Williams said of her decision to partner Murray. 'It made sense for him. We both want to do well. We both love Wimbledon. Playing with a British icon like Andy is going to be really exciting. 

'I’m looking forward to sharing the court with him and maybe I can learn a thing or two from him.'

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Murray makes winning return to Wimbledon, sets sights on mixed doubles with Serena Williams on Friday

Andy Murray and Pierre-Hugues Herbert reached the second round of the men's doubles after a four-set win over Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert - Murray and Serena Williams start their mixed doubles campaign on Friday afternoon

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