Jamie Murray last night looked forward to the “big thrill” of his fourth Wimbledon final – but his mixed doubles partner Victoria Azarenka was annoyed by television commentary she described as “horrendous”.
Before their semi-final, the Scot and the Belarusian had watched footage of their previous match, described for the BBC by John Inverdale. “One of the things he said was ‘Azarenka, second serve – woof,’” explained the former women’s world No 1. “I don’t know what he meant but to me it was horrendous. It’s pretty amazing there are people who are not so knowledgeable commentating on tennis and if I’m not incorrect I don’t think the guy’s even played in his life.”
The Muzza/Aza double-act beat the English team of Jay Clarke and Harriet Dart and now Murray goes for a hat-trick of triumphs in the mixed. He’s defending the title he won with Martina Hingis last year, his first success coming in 2007 alongside Jelena Jankovic. He also reached the final of the men’s doubles with John Peers in 2015.
“It’s brilliant to be in another final and I’m really excited,” he said following the 6-2, 6-2 win. “We played a great match from start to finish. We began strongly which we thought would be important and never really gave them a chance.”
Murray was asked about legacy and whether he wanted to be remembered as the world’s greatest doubles player – and, being a modest fellow, was suitably embarrassed by the question. “It’s nice to be remembered, I guess. I mean, I just try my best. I’ve had a lot of amazing moments in my career with the Davis Cup, getting to world No 1 in doubles and winning Slams in men’s and mixed. I’ve done a lot of good things and if I stopped tomorrow probably I’d be pretty happy but I still feel I can do a lot more in the game.”
For Azarenka, a winner in singles at the US and French Opens, the doubles court is proving the ideal place to re-sharpen her skills following the birth of her son Leo and Murray the ideal sidekick. “For me, matches are money right now. But being 1-5 down [earlier in the tournament] and having to come back from pretty much dead – these moments are super-important when I haven’t played for so long.”
She laughed as she added: “I feel like you guys are asking about me and Jamie all the time so I’ll say he’s the best-ever mixed player. I feel you’re waiting for that headline.
“Well, he didn’t have to sell this to me. He’s a great player and you can tell, I think, that we’re having fun. Fighting really hard, but enjoying it, too.”
Was Leo enjoying it? “Well, he watches a bit on TV, but not too much. He’ll say ‘Mamma’s on TV’ but when I don’t talk back to him he gets disappointed.”
For Murray, reaching the final of the mixed more than makes up for the disappointment of being knocked out of the men’s doubles with Bruno Soares. “That had been a tough one. We knew we had a great chance to go on and win the tournament and that had been the goal this year. I was really sad about that but the next day I was back in a match with Vika and that was great.”
Tomorrow’s final is against Alexander Peya (Austria) and Nicole Melichar (USA). There’s a good chance it will be at the same time as the World Cup final but Murray, a big football fan, doesn’t mind. “I don’t care about missing that. I’d much rather win a Grand Slam.”
So what of this partnership’s future, might they reunite for the US Open? “This has been so much fun, I’m loving it, so you never know,” said Azarenka.