Serena Williams and Andy Murray get off to a flying start
Murray was back on his favourite court 724 days after he hobbled off in 2017
Scotland’s Andy Murray and Serena Williams of the US in action during their first round mixed doubles match. Photograph: Reuters
These two are used to winning on Centre — they have claimed nine singles titles between them — and they proved that no matter how new the partnership, old habits die hard.
“For me it was a great experience being back on Centre Court with Serena after the last year or so being tough. It was nice. I enjoyed it,” the Scot said.
“I think like towards the end of the match when you’re kind of in control on the scoreboard, it’s easier to sort of relax and enjoy it, whereas the first set, we were obviously taking it seriously to win.”
Never has a mixed-doubles partnership received so much attention, but it did not disappoint as Williams’ baseline power and Murray’s guile at the net means they will be a real force in this discipline.
Williams admitted that she was feeling nervous beforehand, perhaps which accounts for her playing the first two points of the match with her accreditation lanyard around her neck, but the American performed better than she expected.
“At some point I started feeling a lot of pressure,” she said. “‘Oh, my God, I have to do well because this match is so hyped that I want to see it’.
“I didn’t even want to be in it, I kind of just wanted to watch it. Maybe I’ll try to get a video of it or watch it somewhere.
“Overall I think I was able to handle my nerves pretty good, do better than I thought I was going to do.
“It’s definitely awesome to share a court with Andy, especially this particular stage. Like I said, whenever you’re a grand-slam winner, you always learn something.
“But, yeah, we are still young in our relationship on the court. We still have a lot to learn.”
Victory will have provided some comfort for Murray after his defeat in the men’s doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert earlier in the day.
Murray would have been hoping to go deep in the tournament, but was not too disappointed.
“It’s not a blow really in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “I know you guys (the media) were talking about winning the doubles, winning mixed doubles, playing 12 matches in 11 days, things like that.
“I was aware that that wasn’t going to be the case most likely. We played against a really good team today that are ranked five or six in the world.
“The first two sets I felt like we were the better team. I think if we got the second, I think we would have run away with it. We lost a tough game at the end of the second. Those guys played really well the last couple of sets.”