July 10, 2019
‘Serena’s the boss, so whatever she says goes.’
That was Andy Murray’s verdict after he was told that Serena Williams had chosen the name “Murena” for their burgeoning partnership.
After the stellar way Williams played in their latest victory, Murray was in no position to argue.
Besides, as Serena pointed out, harmony between this superstar mixed doubles pairing is the key to their success.
She explained: ‘We’re getting to agree on things already so it’s good. After only a couple of matches we really have this rhythm we’re starting to feel and hopefully we can continue like that.’
They delighted a packed Centre Court to beat Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo 7-5, 6-3.
When was the last time we saw the home of tennis quite this packed for an evening session of mixed doubles? Probably never.
Serena was sensational. Andy is still a little rusty by comparison. And he knows it.
Murray acknowledged: ‘She was brilliant, especially at the end of the first set and beginning of the second. She was hitting these clean winners a lot of the time and making my job easy.
‘But then I was missing my ones on the break points. But overall we both played well and Serena especially returned well. If she keeps returning like that we’ll have a good chance.’
It might be going too far to say that Serena virtually won this match on her own. But that’s how good she was.
And it all has the feel of a wonderful gift from Serena to Andy for his support of women in tennis and women in general.
She is getting plenty out of the adventure too, though. She can feel a different dimension to the love coming from that Centre Court crowd this year.
If Serena ever temporarily lost any support through her US Open final tantrums last year, she has won that support back ten times over with her commitment to Murray and to making this Wimbledon extra special.
And if she wasn’t enjoying it all, she couldn’t keep doing it so well. Remember, she had only just beaten Alison Riske in a tense singles quarter-final when she was out performing tennis miracles again.
So this win with Murray was a phenomenal physical feat, as well as providing supreme entertainment.
She admitted: ‘I’m having a blast, it’s great. It’s been really fun, obviously a great atmosphere, playing out there with Andy, so it’s great.’
Both Andy and Serena are fresh, having taken so much time out of tennis through injury. If Murray can get sharper, this partnership will flourish further still.
For the Brit this fun adventure is a means to an end. His goal is to play top singles tennis again.
He explained: ‘For me all matches are good right now. Doubles is especially good for the reactions and reflexes, which has helped me for the last four or five weeks.
‘Once finished here, hopefully on Sunday, I’ll get back practising a little more singles.’
But Andy has already admitted that the US Open could come much too soon for his singles involvement there.
So for now his focus has to be on the Grand Slam task in hand. He must stay in the present and do his best to emulate Serena’s extraordinary level on court at Wimbledon this year.
She is super-competitive. She seems to want to win the mixed doubles almost as much as the singles.
Next up are top seeds Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar. Andy knows he will have to serve and return much better if he and Serena are to progress.
But “Murena” has already given tennis fans so much pleasure, anything this dream team can do from here has to be a bonus.
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