A Brit had just lost a big match and the atmosphere was flat, but in the mixed-doubles scene they’re used to such challenges. Martina Hingis arrived to flash her famous smile and her equally notable forehand and the Centre Court were soon cheered up.
She had some help lifting the post-Johanna Konta depression, of course – Jamie Murray, her new partner, and their opponents Ken Skupski and Jocelyn Rae who won gold for Scotland in mixed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
This was only Hingis and Murray’s second match as a pair – they won 6-4, 6-4 – two more and they will have claimed a title which Hingis played a 50 per cent part in winning last year.
She joked when the team-up was revealed that she had to do the asking, Jamie being too shy to have ever suggested it, and the banter between the two was evident from the first point won by this Little & Large duo, the elder Murray having to crouch down very low indeed to avoid being hit by the Hingis serve.
Every point after that was rounded off with a high-five, in the way of doubles teams now. Tactics are debated with hands covering mouths, just like football managers – or did football copy tennis?
Hingis is 37 later this year but can still find lovely angles on her shots, even in the crowded world of doubles. She played a stormer to force the break of serve in the second set and if she doesn’t know what one of them is she can ask Jamie.
Then she held her serve to press home the advantage. “Jamie really helps me out when I’m serving,” she said after the hour’s entertainment during which Skupski got to show off his heading skills. “It’s my job to put in a good first serve and he takes care of the rest.” As the only non-Brit on the court she said she felt like an honorary one.
“I was counting on that,” said Murray who was pleased with the victory and the entertainment level. “It’s cool there have been Brits to play in the second week of a Slam. I’ve trained with Joyce and I’ve known Ken since forever.” But it’s not knockabout fun. “Our goal’s to win,” he added.
It’s ten years since Murray and Jelena Jankovic were such charismatic winners of the mixed and 20 since Hingis won the singles at Wimbledon, the first of her five Slam successes, and she’s also racked up 17 doubles triumphs.
So if she and Murray make the final will Andy come to watch? “I don’t know,” laughed big brother. “He probably doesn’t want to be sitting down for that amount of time!”