July 4, 2020
Serena Williams playing mixed doubles with Andy Murray. Seems like a fanciful dream now, doesn’t it?
But on the first Saturday of Wimbledon 2019, it really happened.
A year on, at the same stage of our missing fortnight, this is still something to celebrate.
What a charming spectacle it made! They played three matches together. In a sense they are each a rare collectors’ item. It may never happen again.
We certainly shouldn’t wish for a similar treat at Wimbledon 2021. We fully expect to see Andy Murray causing thrills and spills in the singles instead!
Remember, Murray only teamed up with Serena because he couldn’t play singles at Wimbledon last year.
Andy hadn’t yet found the answer to his hip problem. And this particular consequence was intriguing.
Murray wanted to experience the Wimbledon crowds as a player. Serena wasn’t just the support act. She was an equal partner and often far more.
The Murray-Serena double act was nicknamed “Murena.” At times it seemed as much showbiz as sport.
The extraordinary thing was that Andy and Serena weren’t even good friends.
Murray was someone Serena admired. Not just as a skilful, successful tennis professional.
She liked his attitude to women. The way he always fought their corner on the burning issue of equality. Andy needed a partner for Wimbledon? She wanted to be there for him.
Andy and Serena took it seriously enough, though. Especially that first match, when there was a bit of pressure on the famous pair to win.
Andreas Mies and Alesia Guarachi were the first opponents. They held their own in the first set. After that they were steamrollered as the Wimbledon crowd lapped it up.
Serena couldn’t hide her sense of satisfaction at the 6-4, 6-1 victory on that first Saturday.
‘I think it worked well,’ she said. ‘We had never played together, so it is always a learning curve. We wanted to start fast and we take it very seriously. We’re obviously here to do well, but have fun at the same time.’
Murray purred: ‘We played well, returned well and served well. It’s a great start.’
And things got better when “Murena” beat Raquel Atavo and Fabrice Martin 7-5, 6-3 a few says later.
Murray explained why the chemistry was even better between the two superstars.
‘Serena was making me laugh out there. Today felt relaxed. We don’t know each other extremely well, but today we chatted a bit more and relaxed.’
‘But who is the boss?’ someone asked. A great question.
‘I think Serena is the boss,’ replied Andy. ‘Whatever she says goes.’
Unfortunately the run didn’t last all the way to the final, as some had predicted.
Andy just wasn’t quite agile enough at this stage of his recovery.
Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar were just too good for “Murena” in the next round.
But no one minded too much. Serena had played with Andy! It had been a blast. And it had been X-rated at times, according to the Scot.
‘Serena and I shared a few jokes out there but we can’t reveal what they were, unfortunately, because some of the language was not repeatable,’ laughed Andy.
The delight of the crowd probably drowned out any whispered obscenities.
No crowds at Wimbledon this year – or tennis. But we’re already looking forward to next summer, aren’t we?
What unexpected pleasures will Wimbledon 2021 bring us?
There is always high drama. Always something to surprise us.
We may not see Willams and Murray pair up again. But for Wimbledon 2021, we can look forward to both players trying win singles titles.
What could be better than that for those lucky enough to have a seat for Centre Court next summer?