Both players coming back from injury, Murray from hip resurfacing and Williams from knee problems. Williams left it late to agree to play with the Brit. The American wanted to wait until her first round match had finished to see how her knee felt.
Murray was unsure in January if he would ever play again. Following his tearful press conference at the Australian Open where he announced he would retire because of the hip. However, following the successful operation Murray announced in June that he would return to Queen’s. Teaming up with Feliciano López, the fairy tale return ended with the pair lifting the trophy.
The high profile first round match hit Centre Court on Saturday evening. Murray taking to the hallowed turf for the first time in two years. The team have been nicknamed “SerAndy” by media and fans alike.
If the Brit/American partnership go on to claim the title, it will be historic. Former World No.1s in their respective singles playing mixed doubles. In recent years the mixed doubles actually came under threat. Mostly, because the event only takes places four times a year.
The four Grand Slams are where mixed doubles take place, the exception is in Olympic years where there are medals at stake.
The big issue with mixed doubles is the lack of events and no ranking points. The ATP and WTA tours are missing a trick. Throughout the tennis year, there are plenty of joint tournaments. Indian Wells, Eastbourne, Miami, Madrid to name just a few.
None of these events hold a mixed doubles event, yet have both singles and doubles. Adding mixed doubles to the calendar at these locations could give the opportunity to get the event well and truly on the map.
Offering ranking points, as with singles and doubles currently, will also increase participation with the players. Mixed doubles provides opportunities to see both men and women on the court at the same time.
Why can’t the ATP and WTA tours get together to schedule in mixed doubles at the combined events? Surely offering ranking points can’t be too difficult. Afterall, with more events, the mixed doubles couples would play more together. Just like regular doubles, they would get to play regularly. An end of year tournament definitely wouldn’t work, as the ATP have the World Tour Finals in one country, the WTA have theirs in another.
There is nothing stopping mixed doubles being played more during the year, and with the no-ad scoring and match tiebreaks, it wouldn’t bring too much more strain on players. It could even produce more popcorn pairings like Andy Murray & Serena Williams.
Embed from Getty Images