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Pro Media & News

Venus Williams opens Wimbledon return with mixed doubles win

Victoria Chiesa | July 01, 2022


In fading light Friday on No. 1 Court, Venus Williams made a triumphant return to Wimbledon. In the opening round of mixed doubles, the 42-year-old Williams partnered Jamie Murray to a 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 win against Poland's Alicja Rosolska and New Zealand's Michael Venus. It was Williams' first competitive match action since August.

Williams revealed to reporters after the match that she had no intentions of actually playing when she arrived on-site at Wimbledon, but was inspired by both her sister Serena's comeback and returning to the site of some of her greatest career triumphs.

 

Her pairing with Murray, who's a former world No. 1 in doubles and a winner of seven majors himself, came about at the 11th hour—they were awarded a wild card on-site—but it was a long time coming.

 

"I've been trying to play with him forever. He plays hard to get," she said with a laugh.

 

"I saw the grass and I got excited," Williams continued. "I was at the French Open, it's a beautiful event, but my heart didn't beat the same way. Definitely I couldn't have guessed that I would be here right now, taking it at the last minute. I haven't played in a year so you don't know what you're going to get. Practice is so much different from a match. It's not easy, physically or mentally or anything."

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.

The two hour, 18-minute late-night thriller was paused after the teams split sets to allow for the court's roof to be closed. Murray and Williams lost just six points in their five service games in the decider, and secured the decisive break of Rosolska's serve in the set's fourth game.

 

"Just at the last [match point] it was like, 'Oh, my God, wow.' I just not only played a match but won a match," Williams said. "I'm never like that kind of player. I always expect to win. ... We wanted to win, but when I sat there at the end, it was like real. Yeah, I felt something in my heart."

 

Williams and Murray will next face British wild cards Alicia Barnett and Jonny O'Mara in the second round. 

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