LONDON (AFP) – Andy Murray and Serena Williams will form a mixed doubles dream team at Wimbledon, his management announced yesterday, as he gradually returns to tennis following career-saving surgery.
Murray, who is easing his way back into the sport following a radical hip resurfacing, will join forces with Williams in an all-star partnership when the draw is announced today.
The Scot is already entered into the men’s doubles at Wimbledon where he is playing alongside France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The two-time Wimbledon champion’s partnership with seven-time winner Williams will make them instant favourites for the title.
“We’re a lot alike on the court. I’ve always liked that about him,” Williams said of her fellow former world number one.
“His work ethic is just honestly off the charts. That’s something I’ve always respected about him. His fitness, everything.
“To do what he’s done in an era where there’s so many other great male tennis players, so much competition, to rise above it, not many people have done it. He’s actually one of the few. There’s so many things to be admired.”
She added, “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.”
Murray had been searching for a mixed doubles partner but had complained that he had been turned down by a number of players.
“I do want to play,” the 32-year-old said last Saturday at a pre-Wimbledon media day.
“We’ve had a number of conversations with a few players. Yeah, the plan’s definitely to play.
“Conditions look like it’s supposed to be good for the fortnight, which is a positive thing.
“I was speaking to some of the doubles guys, asking them why they don’t play mixed. It was for the reason that they had some years where they’ve been backed up. Sometimes the mixed is not the priority to get on the court.”
Murray played mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2006 where he teamed with Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and reached the second round.
He was also a silver medallist with Laura Robson in the London 2012 Olympics which were played at the All England Club.
Serena is a two-time mixed doubles champion at the Slams.
In 1998, she partnered with Max Mirnyi to win Wimbledon and the US Open.
Some 64 pairings compete in the mixed doubles, which is disputed over the best of three sets.