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Murray made to wait but SW19 offers are rolling in


Forced off: Andy Murray during yesterday’s doubles clash at Queen’s Club which was suspended
Forced off: Andy Murray during yesterday’s doubles clash at Queen’s Club which was suspended

By Robert Jones

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty may have rejected Andy Murray's request to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon but the Scot has been flooded with offers from players past and present who are willing to join forces with him.

Murray returned to competitive tennis after a five-month injury lay-off at the Queen's Club Championship this week in the doubles alongside Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, and last night their quarter-final against British duo Dan Evans and Ken Skupski was suspended due to fading light.

Murray and Lopez took the first set 6-4, though Evans and Skupski were 5-4 ahead in the second at the suspension of play.

But aiming to play mixed doubles, 32-year-old Murray is on the lookout for a partner at Wimbledon which begins on July 1.

"I would like to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon and I have spoken to a couple of players about partnering up," Murray wrote in a BBC column.

"But I've been rejected a couple of times so far - in the nicest possible way, of course!

"One of those people was Ash Barty. 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."

Soon after, many WTA players took to social media to express their interest in teaming up with the former World No.1 at the premier grasscourt tournament.

"*Checks calendar* Available, and lacing up, @andy_murray," multiple Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King (75) wrote on Twitter.

Britain's Naomi Broady was ready to leave her own brother and doubles partner Liam behind and ride to the Scot's rescue, saying: "I would totally ditch my own flesh and blood AKA Liam Broady to play with you #SORRYBRO."

Barty, meanwhile, moved to within two wins of becoming World No.1 after seeing off Venus Williams 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Birmingham Classic.

Barty will edge ahead of Naomi Osaka at the top before Wimbledon by taking the title, and she extended her winning streak to 10 against the five-time Wimbledon champion.

Also at Queen's Club, Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime claimed the scalp of Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas with a 7-5 6-2 victory but laughed off suggestions he could emulate Boris Becker in winning Queen's and Wimbledon back-to-back.

At 18, Auger-Aliassime became the youngest Queen's semi-finalist since Australia's Lleyton Hewitt at the same age in 1999.

However, Auger-Aliassime, who has risen to the cusp of the top 20 from outside the top 100 this year, said he is not thinking of achieving what 17-year-old Becker did in 1985.

"Not really," the eighth seed said. "I had few expectations coming here but I have handled my nerves and I don't want to think too far ahead."

Roger Federer's resolve was tested again yesterday as he battled to a 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last four of the ATP event in Halle for the 15th time.

World No.3 Federer is chasing a record-extending 10th title on the Halle grass as he warms up for Wimbledon next month.

• Juan Martin del Potro admits his career could be over after his latest injury nightmare.

The Argentinian fractured his right kneecap for the second time in eight months after slipping during his win over Denis Shapovalov at the Fever-Tree Championships.

The World No.12 will undergo surgery in Barcelona today and does not know whether the match at Queen's Club, which he won 7-5 6-4 before pulling out, will be his last.

He said on Instagram: "I don't know what will happen. Hopefully I will have a good recovery. I hope my knee can heal. If that match was the last of my career, I don't know. During rehab I will be able to think. I will know what my body is able to do."

Belfast Telegraph


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