ANDY Murray said last night that the chance to partner Serena Williams in the mixed doubles at this year’s Wimbledon was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he plans to savour to the full.

The 32-year-old, who will appear at SW19 for the first time for two years today, could face as many as 12 matches in 11 days if he is to make it to the end of both the men’s and mixed doubles tournaments. He said the only way to find out if his resurfaced hip is up to such exertions is to put it to the test.

“I was talking to my wife [Kim] about it,” said the three-time Grand Slam winner yesterday, ahead of what is sure to be an emotional first appearance in the men’s doubles with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert today.

“With everything that has gone on the last couple of years, you don’t know what’s coming next or what’s round the corner, and I’ve got the opportunity to play with Serena, she’s one of the best tennis players of all time and one of the biggest female athletes ever. It’s something that I may never get another chance to do, and potentially I might not play mixed doubles again, so if I’m going to do it once, the chance to play with her is obviously brilliant and not something I expected to happen.”


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The Scot will take on Marius Copil of Romania and Ugo Humbert of France in the first round of the men’s doubles today, with he and Williams likely to play their first match in the mixed doubles on Friday. Just two tournaments into his recovery from the hip resurfacing operation he underwent in January, he said he was feeling good but won’t know how his body will hold up to this schedule until he puts it to the test.

“The only way to find out is to do it, to find out,” the Scot said. “It’s a good problem to have, right? If I play 12 matches in 11 days, I would take that but I need to …. sometimes doubles gets a bit of a hard time and people think it’s almost easy in comparison to singles. It’s easier in certain respects but best-of-five doubles is tough on the body as well and I need to respect and do everything right – eating, recovering, stretching, doing all my normal warm ups and preparations and not just think 'oh it’s doubles, I’ll be fine I can get away with not doing all that stuff'.”

Two years on from limping out of a Wimbledon quarter-final against Sam Querrey, the Scot said he was sure the nerves would be going again in the hours before he is due on court. While the All England Club member always had a fair idea he would be back out there competing at some point, he certainly did not think he would be out there at all this year.

“It will be exciting obviously to get back out there,” he said. “I do feel pretty relaxed just now but I am sure once I am on the way to the court and hitting before the match and stuff I will be pretty nervous but nerves are good, hopefully that means I will play some good tennis.

“Certainly I wasn’t necessarily expecting to play Wimbledon this year,” he added. “But with every week that passed I started to feel better. Obviously I wanted to play if I had the chance. I would have liked to play singles but I was not really given that as an option from my team and I’m happy with the decision because I’m happy just playing. I would like to play singles but I don’t massively feel like I’m missing out. I’ve got the opportunity to play in the doubles and I will enjoy that.”


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His arrangement with Serena had been in the pipeline since the tail end of last week but had only accelerated once she came through yesterday’s first-round match in the ladies’ singles unscathed after a knee issue. Andy and Williams were drawn to play Germany’s Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi of Chile, with Jamie – twice a winner of this competition – and Bethanie Mattek-Sands taking on British wild cards Joe Salisbury and Katy Dunne.

“I was chatting to [Bob Bryan] about the mixed and to one or two others about it then sort of debated whether or not to play,” explained Murray. “Delgy [Jamie Delgado, his coach] had had a message from Patrick [Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach] asking if I was fixed up for doubles, so he said no, and then it was ‘would it be of interest to play with Serena?’ We kind of chatted about it for a couple of days. I know she had had problems with her knee this year and both sides kind of wanted to see how her match went before we did the final part. She felt fine yesterday and I saw her briefly today – she seems like she is up for it!”

Further good news yesterday was the fact that Herbert showed no signs of exacerbating the thigh injury which he had strapped up during his first-round singles defeat to Kevin Anderson. “It’s good,” he said. “I had a day off yesterday to recover and I have had two good nights, I have calmed down a little bit!

“It’s special [to play with Andy] because it takes me into his world a little bit, it’s something I don’t really live the whole year," said Herbert. "He grabs a lot of attention and he has grabbed me a little bit with him."