Well, it’s true! Two of the highest-profile tennis players in the world will team up for mixed doubles action at Wimbledon: Serena Williams and Andy Murray. Murray confirmed the news to the media on Tuesday. An already crazy Wimbledon just got a little crazier, which is always a good thing, with the pair teaming up with very little notice out of, simply put, a desire to get more court time in.
Murray, a two-time singles champion at Wimbledon, will compete in two doubles events less than a month after returning from hip surgery, as he is already partnered with Pierre Hugues-Herbert in men’s doubles. He originally had told the media he hoped to play in mixed doubles but he had been rejected by multiple partners.
That’s when Williams stated she would be happy to play with him. It was read as a bit of a joke at first, but apparently, the two got to talking and the collective tennis fandom willed the pairing into existence.
Mixed doubles is an often-overlooked bracket, but is often some of the most fun because it can create such pairings. It’s not an area where Murray has tried to excel much in his career. Murray has only ever made it to the second round of Wimbledon mixed doubles, and has a 7-4 record for his career.
Williams, though, has had a bit more experience. She has a career record of 27-4 and has played in the mixed doubles finals at each Grand Slam once, making it to three of the four all the way back in 1998, where she also happened to pick up titles at the US Open and, where else, Wimbledon.
Williams bested Giulia Gatto-Monticone in the singles bracket and made it clear she is in “singles mode,” but wanted more time on the court. She is still going for her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which is her absolute top priority. But she’s feeling well enough to mix it up with Murray.
“I don’t know. If you guys (the media) really want it, then maybe I’ll do it,” Williams said. “All right. Done. Just for you guys, don’t forget.”
She was also complimentary of Murray’s play, noting that the two have a similar style to their approach to the game.
“We’re a lot alike on the court,” Williams said. “I’ve always liked that about him. His work ethic is just honestly off the charts.”
Finally, she noted Murray’s propensity to speak up about women’s rights and inequality in sports, something she obviously has had to deal with and fight for her entire life.
“There’s so many things to be admired,” she said. “Above all, he really stands out. He really speaks up about women’s issues no matter what. You can tell he has a really strong woman in his life. I think above all that is just fantastic.”
Jamie Murray was paired with Martina Hingis to win the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon in 2017, while Nicole Melichar and Alexander Peya took the title a year ago.
It will be interesting to see how they pair up. It’s tough to predict the outcome of mixed doubles, and with two aging players having suffered significant injuries in recent years, it’s possible both are hurting their chances in the singles bracket. But for the time being, this is fun and everyone should be psyched to see what it looks like.
The full mixed doubles bracket isn’t available yet, but one of the things to keep in mind will be the fact that mixed doubles are generally played on the outer courts, which see more best-of-five doubles tennis than the other courts, which lowers its overall quality and could be tough for Murray and Williams to play on consistently.
The full mixed doubles draw will be announced on Wednesday. Williams and Murray will likely be in action together for their first mixed doubles matchup on Thursday.