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Murray to play with Herbert at Wimbledon, but says Ash Barty 'rejected' him for mixed doubles

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 21 Jun 2019
  • Andy Murray to play men's doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon
  • Reveals French Open champion Ashleigh Barty turned him down for mixed doubles
Andy Murray will play men's doubles at Wimbledon - and perhaps mixed doubles too (PA Sport)

Andy Murray to play with Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon - but says Ashleigh Barty 'rejected' him for mixed.

Former world no. 1 Andy Murray has confirmed that he intends to play men's doubles at Wimbledon with France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Murray also revealed that he is hoping to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon but has been turned down by several female players, including French Open champion Ashleigh Barty.

Murray and Feliciano Lopez in action at Queen's Club (PA Sports)
Murray hasn't played a singles match since the Australian Open, when he lost in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut and floated the possibility of retiring from tennis altogether in an emotional press conference.

But the British player's fortunes have revived after he made the decision to undergo a risky hip resurfacing operation which has left him not only pain-free in his everyday life but aiming to continue his tennis career. 

The first step was taken at Queen's Club on Thursday when Murray, partnered by 2017 singles champion Feliciano Lopez, played his first match since January in the first round of the men's doubles. Murray and Lopez defeated the top seeds, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach the second round of the Fever-Tree Championships.

Murray had said that he would play doubles at Eastbourne and Wimbledon if his Queen's Club appearance went well, and it seems to have done just that, with Murray confirming that he will team up with Brazilian veteran Marcelo Melo at next week's Nature Valley International.

At Wimbledon, Murray confirms he intends to partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The lanky Frenchman, currently ranked world no. 43 in singles, is an experienced doubles player who had a fruitful partnership with Nicolas Mahut. The pair won Wimbledon in 2016 and went on to complete a career Grand Slam at the 2019 Australian Open. Herbert and Mahut recently ended their partnership so that Herbert, the younger man at 28, could focus on singles, which makes him an ideal partner for Murray; it won't decimate Herbert's Wimbledon if Murray is forced to pull out because of his uncertain physical condition, as it might that of a doubles specialist like Murray's brother Jamie.

That didn't stop ATP players in action at Queen's Club putting themselves forward for the honour of partnering Murray at Wimbledon, in a playful video released before Murray confirmed he would be partnering Herbert.

‘Basically, my coach saw [Herbert] a little while ago and told him that, you know, that I might be playing doubles at Wimbledon,’ Murray said.

'He had said to my coach he wasn’t going to be playing doubles at Wimbledon. He was going to concentrate on singles at the French Open and Wimbledon, so he was not going to be playing doubles. 

'And then, yeah, I can’t remember exactly how long, but a couple of weeks ago, kind of had got in touch. He’d sort of said, well, you know, maybe I would play, like, didn’t expect he might play with me at Wimbledon? And then, yeah, I’m assuming he spoke with his team and thought, you know, it might be a nice thing to do, and that was kind of how it came about.'

Murray also revealed he's hoping to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon - although so far he has been unable to find a partner.

‘I have spoken to a couple of players. I’ve been rejected a couple of times so far,’ Murray said.

‘[...] I asked singles players who had already committed to playing doubles, and they didn’t want to commit to playing in three events, which I completely understand because it’s a lot. If you have ambitions to go far in the singles, you maybe don’t want to commit to playing all three.’

In his column for BBC Sport, Murray revealed that French Open champion Ashleigh Barty was one of the players he had asked to partner him - only to be turned down by the Australian.

'I asked her during the French Open and she said no because she is already playing in singles and doubles, so didn't want to play in three competitions. Of course, I understood that,' he wrote.

'She also said: "There's many better out there than me." Then a few days later she won the French Open, so I fired her a message saying I told her she was one of the best - but she still rejected me! It is a shame we can't play together because I want the best partner possible.'

WTA players were quick to respond on social media with the Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova writing on Instagram: 'Hey @andymurray I heard you got rejected by my fellow players a couple of times when finding a partner for mixed doubles in Wimbledon. I swear I wouldn't do the same mistake like them. So what do you think?'

Coco Vandeweghe of the USA and Barty's former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua both got in on the action on twitter.

It seems like Feliciano Lopez would testify to the positive experience of playing with Murray.

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Murray to play with Herbert at Wimbledon, but says Ash Barty 'rejected' him for mixed doubles

Andy Murray confirms he'll play men's doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon 2019 after successful return to action at Queen's Club - but says French Open champion Ashleigh Barty turned him down as a mixed doubles partner, sparking a playful bidding war among WTA players on social media

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