Andy Murray was not going to let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with Serena Williams at Wimbledon pass him by.
The Scot has teamed up with the 23-time grand-slam champion for the mixed doubles as he prepares to make his SW19 comeback.
For all that he has done and achieved in his career, a career he thought was over just a matter of months ago, he could not miss out on teaming up with the 23-time grand slam champion and possibly the greatest player, male or female, the game has ever seen.
Murray said: “With everything that has gone on the last couple of years, you don’t know what’s coming next or what’s round the corner, [It is] the opportunity to play with Serena, she’s one of the best tennis players of all time and one of the biggest female athletes ever.
“It’s something that I may never get another chance to do, and, potentially, I might not play mixed doubles again so if I’m going to do it once the chance to play with her is obviously brilliant and not something I expected to happen.”
It was Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’s coach, who first suggested the partnership last week. A few exchanges of text messages and Williams’ win in the first round of singles later and the dream team was formed.
Murray added: “I know she had a bit of a problem with her knee this year. Both sides kind of wanted to see how her match went before we did the final part. She felt fine yesterday [after her match] and I saw her briefly today – she seems like she is up for it!”
Mixed doubles is not usually at the top of any Wimbledon player’s list of priorities but it is different for Murray. This is only the third week of his comeback and he just wants to play as many matches as he can. And even if he will be simply happy to be back on court, he wants to win just as much as he did in his pomp.
The men’s doubles is played over the best-of-five sets and the workload could be intense. If Murray and Pierre-Hugues Herbert reach the men’s final and he and Williams reach the mixed final, the Scot would have to play 12 matches in 11 days. Murray has no idea how his newly repaired hip – or the rest of his body – will stand up
“The only way to find out is to do it,” he said. “It’s a good problem to have. Sometimes doubles gets a bit of a hard time and people think it’s almost easy in comparison to singles. It is easier in certain respects but best-of-five doubles is tough on the body. I need to respect that and do everything right: eating, recovering stretching, doing all my normal warm ups and preparations and not just think ‘oh it’s doubles I’ll be fine I can get away with not doing all that stuff’.”