Wimbledon: Venus Williams and Jamie Murray win mixed doubles opener

By Sonia OxleyBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Wimbledon 2022 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Venus Williams and Jamie Murray's keenly anticipated Wimbledon mixed doubles partnership made a winning start on an enthusiastic Court One.

The wildcards beat Alicja Rosolska and Michael Venus 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in an entertaining evening match.

American five-time singles champion Williams, 42, is competing unexpectedly 11 months after last playing.

Their pairing was last-minute but Williams said she had eyed it for some time, adding: "He played hard to get."

It proved to be a popular and effective partnership.

Every Williams winner - and there were plenty at the net - sparked big cheers.

Like with sister Serena's appearance in the singles this week, there was a sense fans were savouring the chance to see Venus for one of the last times.

The partnership clicked, with former doubles number one Murray flawless on serve and Williams sharp on the volleys at the net.

An early break was all they needed to take the first set, which they served out to love, but they were then pegged back in the second to take it to the decider.

At one point a huge Mexican wave erupted, which even the umpire could not stop, and so Williams proceeded to serve anyway while the noisy party continued.

The roof came on, the decibels rose, and Jamie Murray launched three aces in a row in the opening game of the third set. From there the momentum grew as they broke in the fourth game and Murray served out the victory, bringing the crowd to their feet.

The pair hugged and Williams looked emotional at the end, as if she was just taking it all in that she was back on the grass that she says makes her heart beat faster.

"Just at the last it was like, 'Oh, my god, wow'. I just not only played a match but won a match. I'm never like that kind of player. I always expect to win," she said.

"But when I sat there, we wanted to win, but when I sat there at the end, it was like real. Yeah, I felt something in my heart."

It brought back memories of another Murray-Williams team, with their siblings Andy and Serena teaming up at SW19 three years ago for a headline-grabbing partnership.

Williams is a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, winning titles at the 1998 Australian and French Opens. She appeared in the mixed doubles here last year but her campaign came to an early end because of an injury to partner Nick Kyrgios before their second-round match.

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Murray has won five mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, including two at Wimbledon in 2007 and 2017 with Jelena Jankovic and Martina Hingis respectively.

Aside from the joy of being back on the grass, being back on the tennis court is having another advantage for Williams, who has been busy with her business interests since her last match in Chicago last August.

"I think it's easier to be on tour than off tour," she said. "I think I should just come on back so I can sleep a little more."

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