Jamie Murray will today bid to win the mixed doubles at Wimbledon for a second time, after triumphing with Jelena Jankovic ten years ago.
“People mention it to me and it seems like so long ago. I was only 21 at the time,” Murray said. “I’d just started playing on the main tour and we ended up winning. I’d never played mixed doubles before.”
The Scot is now in a new partnership with Martina Hingis, the 22-time grand slam champion who won her first Wimbledon title 21 years ago, as a 15-year-old in women’s doubles alongside Helena Sukova.
Murray and Hingis are up against British No 2 Heather Watson and Finland’s Henri Kontinen. It will be the first final between opposing British players since the 1961 women’s singles final, when Angela Mortimer beat Christine Truman.
Watson is treating it as just another match, and said the approach would be to “just keeping doing the same thing we’re doing, have a good time, stay positive”.
But it will be a Centre Court occasion, with the winners sharing a £100,000 prize pot, and heading into the showpiece match Watson has paid tribute to Kontinen’s contribution.
The 27-year-old is the men’s doubles world No.1, and Watson laughed off talk that Kontinen says she is “the one” making their partnership click.
“He’s the one,” Watson said. “I find Henri so enjoyable to play with. We have a great time out there. Even if I miss a simple ball I’d usually make, or don’t put away a volley, he’s so supportive, and that makes me feel great for the next point. Henri tells me what to do and I try my best to do it, and then if I succeed he just goes and wins the point for us.”
Watson will bounce back into the world’s top 100 on Monday and feels the grass-court stretch has provided the spur that her career was needing. But the 25-year-old is making no secret of her growing fatigue after playing six weeks back to back.
She enjoyed strong singles runs in Surbiton and Eastbourne but is aching for a rest.
Watson said: “Over the last few weeks, in this grass-court season in general, my singles career has started to take off again and I’ve won a lot of matches.
“I’m really happy my ranking’s started to go up again and after we play the final on Sunday I’ll get a bit of time off, because I’ve been playing every week. I think it’s paid off but I’m a bit tired now.”
The mixed match will follow the men’s final, and it remains to be seen how many in the crowd, and which of the Royal Box guests, remain in their seats for the start of the action.
Murray recalled how empty the Royal Box was when he and Hingis began their quarter-final against Jocelyn Rae and Ken Skupski on Thursday.
Rather than strain for a view of the stars, it was easy to count and identify everyone present.
Murray said: “When we started the match there were five people in the box: the president of the LTA and his wife, David Cameron and his mum, and John Bercow. It was pretty easy to spot them.”
Murray’s success means his family is represented in a Wimbledon final for the fifth time in six years, and it is not known at this stage whether younger brother Andy will attend. The two-time singles champion has previously disclosed he finds it highly stressful to watch Jamie’s matches.