Andy Murray and Serena Williams have won their first-ever mixed doubles match with ease, as Murray battled to stay in Wimbledon after crashing out of the men’s pairs this afternoon.
The former world No 1 was being cheered on by his wife Kim and mother Judy, on his first day back at Wimbledon following major hip surgery earlier this year.
He paired up with 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams, whose partner Alexis Ohanian the co-founder of Reddit was also watching on as the pair cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
It was an emotional return for Murray who earlier this year had thought he would have to retire from tennis, and had not played at Wimbledon since 2017 where he lost in the quarter-finals.
The pair were in action against Germany’s Andreas Mies and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi, but Murray has chosen a fine partner in Williams who has already progressed to the fourth round in singles.
Speaking after the match, he said: ‘I obviously lost in the doubles earlier so all the energy is now focused on the mixed. It was a good start, I thought we played well. Both of us served well.’
Asked about how his body was feeling, Murray replied: ‘Yes good. My back was a little stiff after the men’s doubles. But it felt alright when we were out there. I served well and my hip is fine. Just a few aches and pains elsewhere.’
Murray had been due to play with Williams yesterday but an almost three hour battle between 15-year-old tennis sensation Cori Gauff and Slovenian powerhouse Polona Hercog meant play was delayed.
His mother Judy, who regularly turns out to support him, tweeted a picture of a glass of champagne and a jar of popcorn ahead of his mixed doubles clash, saying: ‘Dear Andy and Serena. I’m ready.’
Both Murray and Williams have spoken of their pairing ahead of the game. Williams said: ‘There’s such a buzz going around about me and Andy that I’ve gotten nervous now.
‘I feel like I might have a little bit performance anxiety. I hope I can live up to the hype.
The pair had never shared a court together ahead of warming up for their mixed doubles clash this evening. But at a ball hitting session on Friday they appeared relaxed as they chatted, smiled, and shared a jubilant high-five.
Ahead of the match Murray said: ‘Playing with Serena, the atmosphere should be great.’
The duo have an impressive 26 Grand Slam titles between them and their appearance on court and how their partnership works will be fascinating for tennis fans.
The American won the Wimbledon mixed doubles on her one previous appearance 21 years ago, while Murray last played the event in 2006, partnering Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and making the second round.
He did win the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics playing alongside Laura Robson, which was actually held at Wimbledon.
In a BBC column on Friday Murray admitted they had not played together before but that Williams ‘serves unbelievably well.’
Murray said: ‘I don’t know her that well and we haven’t played together before or spent much time hanging out – so let’s see what happens.
‘But I think we do a lot of things quite similarly on court that should bode well for us as a partnership.
‘Both of us play predominantly from the baseline and we are both good movers and athletes. And she serves unbelievably well.
‘I don’t think we have ever hit together over the years, but hopefully we are going to do that today before this evening’s match.’
Wimbledon’s sixth day has seen Murray compete in his first major tournament since completing a successful hip operation.
He and Williams will be watched by a string of sporting legends who have flocked to the All England Lawns Tennis Club, including Lord Sebastian Coe and Sir Chris Hoy.
The long-distance runner joins a host of fellow ex-Olympians in the Royal Box this afternoon – such as IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.
Greats from the worlds of boxing, rugby, netball and golf also took their seats in the exclusive Centre Court box where they watched British player Hannah Dart crash out of the competition.
Sir Mo said that he and his wife Tania are relishing ‘some time away from the kids’ and joked: ‘We are both just excited to be away from the kids – it’s just nice to have a little break, just the two of us.’
The father-of-three added: ‘It’s just incredible to have the chance to sit and watch it and enjoy a cup of tea.’
And Sir Chris said: ‘I haven’t seen much of it at all this week because I’ve been working flat out. I’m just looking forward to enjoying another fine day at Wimbledon.’
Fans are also camped outside the All England Lawn Tennis Club in the famous Queue with the hope of snapping up the limited number of tickets released each day.
Teenage sensation Coco Gauff – who prompted the delay of Murray’s game – had her first taste of defeat at Wimbledon today after losing in the mixed doubles.
The 15-year-old was in action alongside Briton Jay Clarke, 20, in the mixed doubles on Court Two this afternoon. But both players struggled to gain traction losing the game by two sets (6-1, 6-4).
The Briton had dumped his British doubles partner Harriet Jay in order to partner up with the rising tennis star for the mixed doubles. But it seems the pairing was not meant to be.
She will now take to court on Monday. But she won’t face an easy ride in the fourth round, as she is set to face former world number one Simona Halep.
Her remarkable rise to fame has already seen her beat seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Venus Williams, 39, in the first round and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the second.