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I jumped at partnership with Serena Williams, admits Andy Murray

 

Teaming up: Andy Murray gears up for his mixed doubles bid with partner Serena Williams
Teaming up: Andy Murray gears up for his mixed doubles bid with partner Serena Williams

By Jonathan Veal

Andy Murray was not going to allow a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing with Serena Williams at Wimbledon to pass him by.

The Scot has teamed up with the 23-time Grand Slam champion for the mixed doubles as he prepares to make his SW19 comeback.

Murray has not featured at the All England Club since 2017 due to injury, which eventually required a hip resurfacing, and while he is not playing in the singles, he is competing in both forms of doubles.

His long-awaited Wimbledon return will finally happen when he takes to the court with men's partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert tomorrow, but it is his pairing with Williams which is demanding more interest.

After days of speculation about the possibility of teaming up together, it was finally confirmed on Tuesday after the 37-year-old, who has been troubled by knee problems for much of the year, gave the thumbs up after her opening singles match.

They were drawn against Germany's Andreas Mies and Chilean Alexa Guarachi in the first round, which looks set to be played on Friday.

Having lost two years of his career to his crippling hip problems, Murray did not want the chance of playing with someone of Williams' standing to go begging.

"I was talking to my wife about it, with everything that has gone on in the last couple of years, you don't know what's coming next, you don't know what's around the corner," he said.

"The opportunity of playing with Serena, arguably she is one of the best players of all time and the biggest female athletes ever, is something I might never get another chance to do and potentially I might not play mixed doubles again.

"If I am going to do it once, the chance to play with her is obviously brilliant and not something I expected to happen."

Murray confirmed that it is an opportunity that only came up in the last couple of days after their respective coaches spoke, but hopes to be able to practice with Williams for the first time on Friday ahead of their match.

"(Jamie) Delgado had a message from Patrick (Mouratoglou), asking if I was fixed up for doubles and would it be of interest to play with Serena. We chatted about it for a couple of days," he said.

"I knew she had some trouble with her knee this year, from both sides we wanted to see how her match went before making a final call on it.

"She felt fine yesterday and I saw her briefly today and she looks like she's up for it.

"It should be good. We will try and get on court together."

It will be 723 days since Murray last stepped out at Wimbledon when he plays his doubles clash against Marius Copil and Ugo Humbert tomorrow and it is something he did not think was possible when he chose to go under the knife for his make-or-break surgery in January.

"It will be exciting to get back out there, I feel pretty relaxed now, but I am sure on the way to the court or in the morning I will be pretty nervous," he added.

"Hopefully it means I will play some good tennis. I was not expecting to play Wimbledon this year.

"With every week that passed I started to feel better, I wanted to play here, if I had the chance I would have liked to play singles but that wasn't really given as an option by my team.

"I am happy with the decision, because I am happy just playing.

"I don't massively feel like I am missing out, I have got the opportunity to play in the doubles and mixed so I will enjoy that."

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