LONDON — Andy Murray wanted it, the British fans were desperate for it and the media were working themselves into a frenzy about it and on Tuesday it was confirmed that Serena Williams had said yes.
Speculation has bubbled about a Murray/Williams dream team for the Wimbledon mixed doubles since 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Williams hinted at the weekend about her availability.
After the American struggled past Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone in the first round of the singles on Tuesday she left the British media in suspense.
“If you guys really want it… all right, done,” she teased after initially saying she was still trying to figure out the “singles part” and would “have to see.”
But shortly afterwards, Murray’s management team confirmed that they would be playing together.
It is a coup for Murray, and the tournament, with crowds set to flock to the All England Club in even greater numbers to try and catch a glimpse of the scratch pairing in action.
Twice men’s singles champion Murray, back playing doubles as he continues his recovery from career-saving hip surgery in February, had already been turned down for the mixed doubles by new world number one Ash Barty.
But Williams is not a bad consolation.
Asked at the weekend whether he wanted to play with the American great, the Scot said, with a trademark sense of understatement, the 37-year-old mum would be a “solid” partner.
Williams has won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles but has not played mixed doubles at a major since partnering fellow American Bob Bryan at the 2012 French Open.
She did win the 1998 mixed title at Wimbledon with Max Mirnyi, however, and the prospect of repeating that feat with a player she says she admires greatly proved too tempting.
“His work ethic is just honestly off the charts. That’s something I’ve always respected about him,” Serena told reporters when asked about the player who in 2013 became the first British man for 77 years to win Wimbledon. — Reuters