Serena Williams will be hoping to avoid the same fate her sister suffered when she takes to the court on Thursday against …
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Andy Murray says playing with Serena Williams in the Wimbledon mixed doubles is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which he could not miss.
Britain’s Murray, 32, will play with the American great as he continues his recovery from major hip surgery.
“The chance to play with her is brilliant and not something I expected to happen,” the Scot said.
The decorated pair will play Germany’s Andreas Mies and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi in the first round.
Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou contacted Murray’s Jamie Delgado to see if the Scot was available and the blockbuster partnership between two of the sport’s most high profile players, who have 26 Grand Slam titles between them, was confirmed on Tuesday.
“I was talking to my wife about it and, with everything that has gone on over the past couple of years, you don’t know what is coming around the corner,” Murray said.
“The opportunity to play with Serena, who is one of the best tennis players of all time and one of biggest female athletes ever, is something I might not get another chance to do again. Potentially I might not play mixed doubles again.
“If I am going to do it once, the chance to play with her is obviously great.”
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Partnership offers another chance for more Wimbledon glory?
For two-time Wimbledon singles champion Murray, the high-profile partnership with 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams represents another chance to win a Wimbledon title, this time less than six months after having hip surgery.
The 32-year-old Scot feared a hip resurfacing operation might signal the end of his career, yet he returned to competitive action in the doubles at Queen’s last month.
The former world number one, who decided playing doubles was the best option for the first stage of his comeback, went on to win the Queen’s title alongside Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
At Wimbledon Murray will partner Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a doubles expert who has won all four Grand Slam titles, in the men’s event.
Murray approached several players as he also looked to play in the mixed, including world number one Ashleigh Barty, before linking up with 37-year-old Williams, who has won seven doubles titles at Wimbledon.
The American’s playing time has been limited by a knee injury this year, but she beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone in the first round of the singles on Tuesday.
“We wanted to see how her match went before making a final call on it,” Murray said at the Wimbledon practice courts on Wednesday.
“She felt fine after her match yesterday, I saw her briefly today and she’s up for it.”
Murray played mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2006 where he teamed up with Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and reached the second round.
He was also a silver medallist with Laura Robson at the London 2012 Olympics which were played at the All England Club.
Williams has won two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, having partnered Max Mirnyi to win Wimbledon and the US Open in 1998.
Andy and Serena can be ‘perfect match’ – Judy Murray
Murray’s partnership with Williams, where the Briton’s returning game complemented by the American’s strong service game, has got his mum Judy’s approval.
“It’s fantastic,” she told BBC Sport. “What an opportunity, it will be great fun.
“It looks like a really strong partnership – obviously! They’ve both got good form in singles and doubles so hopefully they can be the perfect match.”
While his mum is excited by Andy’s mixed doubles partner, she is far from thrilled at the prospect of her sons potentially facing each other in the third round of the men’s doubles.
Asked if she would be watching courtside, she laughed: “No chance! That would be torture.
“If it happens I will go to the pub and wait for a text.
“They played each other quite a lot when they were young – in those situations I always wanted Jamie to win because he’s the older one and it was because it was the natural order of things and it was easier to handle.”
Clarke to partner Gauff – after ditching Dart
Briton Jay Clarke will partner 15-year-old American Cori Gauff, who beat Venus Williams in the singles, with the pair facing Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt and Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko.
Clarke reached the semi-finals with fellow Briton Harriet Dart last year, where they lost to eventual runners-up Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka.
Clarke and Dart agreed to play together again in February, but BBC Sport understands Clarke messaged Dart on Monday to say that he had decided to play with Gauff instead.
Jamie Murray and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who face GB’s Joe Salisbury and Katy Dunne, start on the opposite side of the draw to Andy Murray and Serena Williams, meaning the brothers could only meet in this competition in the final.
Welshman Evan Hoyt will also play with fellow Briton Eden Silva against India’s Leander Paes and Australian Samantha Stosur.
Another eye-catching partnership sees Venus Williams, a six-time doubles winner at Wimbledon, link up with Frances Tiafoe.
The American pair, in the same half as Andy Murray and Serena Williams, open against British wildcards Scott Clayton and Sarah Beth Grey.
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