Venus Williams has said she had “no plans” to play at Wimbledon this year, but the atmosphere around the grass-court grand slam persuaded her to play.
The 42-year-old hasn’t played competitively for nearly a year but has teamed up with Jamie Murray, brother of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, to compete in mixed doubles.
Venus had previously said she would not be competing this week, but asked for a last-minute entry with Murray, and the pair were then announced in Wednesday’s mixed doubles draw.
The popular couple, cheered by the crowd, even surprised themselves by beating Alicja Rosolska and Michael Venus 6-3 6-7(7) 6-3 on Friday.
“I hadn’t planned to play. I saw the grass and got excited,” Williams said.
“I was at Roland-Garros, it’s a great event, but my heart didn’t beat the same way. Not that I could play but… I had no plans. That’s why I was asking (Murray) at the last minute.
During her career, Williams won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon five times and the doubles title six times, but she never managed to succeed in mixed doubles – she lost in the final in 2006.
His partner, Murray, won five mixed doubles titles including two at Wimbledon in 2007 and 2017.
The pair appeared to click on Friday, with Murray dominating with her serve and Venus strong at net.
“It’s one of the only ones I haven’t won, so I usually put a bit more priority here,” added Williams.
Much like her sister Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, there’s a feeling this could be one of the last times fans can watch Venus at Wimbledon. Williams, 40, lost in her opener to France’s Harmony Tan on Tuesday.
But while she doesn’t expect to win every match, she says she’s just happy to be competing at the highest level again.
“It was definitely great last minute. Just inspired by Serena. Like I said, it was amazing. I was so happy to have so much help today,” she said. declared.
The pair will now face British duo Alicia Barnett and Jonny O’Mara in the Round of 16 on Sunday.
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