WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — This is quite a pair: Serena Williams is teaming up with Andy Murray for mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
Murray’s agent, Matt Gentry, said Tuesday night that the two Grand Slam champions and former No. 1-ranked players will be partners at the All England Club.
The deadline for signing up for mixed doubles at the tournament is Wednesday morning.
When Williams appeared at her post-match news conference after a first-round victory in singles Tuesday — which happened before the announcement that she’d play with Murray — she was greeted by plenty of questions about the possibility.
“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,” Williams said. “There’s so many things to be admired. 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.”
They are sure to draw plenty of attention, much more than mixed doubles normally attracts, and fill the stands — whenever and wherever their first-round match is played.
Williams, of course, is one of the most successful and famous athletes in history, someone who has transcended her sport as a global icon while winning 23 major singles championships, along with another 14 in women’s doubles with her older sister, Venus. There are even a couple of mixed doubles titles on her resume, with Max Mirnyi at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, all the way back in 1998.
Murray, meanwhile, is one of Britain’s biggest sports stars, forever known as the person who ended the locals’ 77-year wait for a homegrown men’s singles champion at the All England Club.
In addition to that 2013 triumph, he won Wimbledon again in 2016, plus the U.S. Open in 2012, along with being the only tennis player to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in singles.
He is limited to playing doubles at the moment as he returns from an operation for a hip replacement. Murray announced at the Australian Open in January that he thought he would need to retire this season because of pain in an already surgically repaired hip.
But following a second procedure shortly thereafter, he decided to make a comeback. Murray won the doubles title at the first tournament of his return, last month at Queen’s Club with Feliciano Lopez.
Murray is entered in men’s doubles at Wimbledon with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.