Serena Williams, Andy Murray
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Serena Williams, Andy Murray to play Wimbledon mixed doubles

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — This is quite a pair: Serena Williams is teaming up with Andy Murray for mixed doubles at Wimbledon.

Murray’s agent, Matt Gentry, said Tuesday night that the two Grand Slam champions and former No. 1-ranked players will be partners at the All England Club.

The deadline for signing up for mixed doubles at the tournament is Wednesday morning.

When Williams appeared at her post-match news conference after a first-round victory in singles Tuesday — which happened before the announcement that she’d play with Murray — she was greeted by plenty of questions about the possibility.

“His work ethic is just honestly off the charts. That’s something I’ve always respected about him. His fitness, everything. To do what he’s done in an era where there’s so many other great male tennis players, so much competition, to rise above it, not many people have done it. He’s actually one of the few,” Williams said. “There’s so many things to be admired. Above all, he really stands out, he really speaks up about women’s issues, no matter what. You can tell he has a really strong woman in his life. I think, above all, that is just fantastic.”

They are sure to draw plenty of attention, much more than mixed doubles normally attracts, and fill the stands — whenever and wherever their first-round match is played.

Williams, of course, is one of the most successful and famous athletes in history, someone who has transcended her sport as a global icon while winning 23 major singles championships, along with another 14 in women’s doubles with her older sister, Venus Williams. There are even a couple of mixed doubles titles on her resume, with Max Mirnyi at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, all the way back in 1998.

Murray, meanwhile, is one of Britain’s biggest sports stars, forever known as the person who ended the locals’ 77-year wait for a homegrown men’s singles champion at the All England Club.

In addition to that 2013 triumph, he won Wimbledon again in 2016, plus the U.S. Open in 2012, along with being the only tennis player to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in singles.

He is limited to playing doubles at the moment as he returns from an operation for a hip replacement. Murray announced at the Australian Open in January that he thought he would need to retire this season because of pain in an already surgically repaired hip.

But following a second procedure shortly thereafter, he decided to make a comeback. Murray won the doubles title at the first tournament of his return, last month at Queen’s Club with Feliciano Lopez.

Murray is entered in men’s doubles at Wimbledon with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

WIMBLEDON: Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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Katie Ledecky swims fastest at U.S. Open from B final

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For what must have been the first time in seven years, Katie Ledecky failed to qualify for an A final in one of her primary events on Friday morning. No matter, she swam the fastest 200m freestyle at the U.S. Open from the B final at night.

Ledecky, owner of 20 combined Olympic and world titles, clocked 1:56.24 to win the B final by nearly three seconds in Atlanta. In the very next race, American record holder Allison Schmitt touched first in the A final in 1:56.47.

Full results are here. The final day of the meet airs live on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Ledecky has rarely lost domestically in freestyles from 200m through 1500m since she made her first Olympic team at age 15 in 2012.

She kept the streak intact, giving her a sweep of the 200m, 400m and 800m frees in the first three days of the U.S. Open, what could be the deepest domestic meet before the Olympic trials in June.

Internationally, Ledecky faced challengers in the 200m free in this Olympic cycle, unlike the last one. Italian veteran and world-record holder Federica Pellegrini won the last two world titles, with Ledecky missing the event this summer due to her mid-meet illness.

Ledecky ranks seventh in the world in the 200m free this year but likely would have been faster if she was able to race at her best at world champs.

Domestically, Simone Manuel has crept up, clocking 1:56.09 to lead off the 4x200m free relay at worlds to rank second among Americans in 2019. Manuel was the third-fastest American on Friday, recording 1:57.21, her fastest time ever outside of a major summer meet.

In other events Friday, Phoebe Bacon upset world-record holder Regan Smith in the 100m backstroke. Bacon, who like Smith is 17 years old, overtook Smith in the last 25 meters and prevailed by .05 in 58.63. Bacon, while shy of Smith’s world record 57.57, took .39 off her personal best to become the fifth-fastest in the world this year.

Olympic and world champion Lilly King dominated the 100m breaststroke, beating a strong field by .62 of a second in 1:05.65.

Chase Kalisz won a potential Olympic trials preview in the 400m individual medley in 4:13.07. Kalisz, the Rio silver medalist, held off 18-year-old Carson Foster by 1.69 seconds. Ryan Lochte, the 2012 Olympic champion in the event, was fifth, 6.65 seconds behind.

Rio Olympian Townley Haas won the men’s 200m free in 1:45.92, his fastest time since August 2018. Haas, the 2017 World silver medalist, improved to the second-fastest American in the event this year behind Andrew Seliskar.

Torri Huske won the 100m butterfly on the eve of her 17th birthday. Huske clocked 57.48, taking .23 off her personal best to move from sixth fastest to third fastest in the U.S. this year.

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Ester Ledecka stuns again, wins World Cup downhill from bib No. 26

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Consider 26 a lucky number for Ester Ledecka.

Ledecka, the snowboard champion who stunningly captured the PyeongChang Olympic super-G from bib No. 26, won her first World Cup ski race on Friday — also from bib No. 26.

Ledecka was fastest in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta.

She kept Swiss Corinne Suter from her first World Cup win by .35 of a second. Austrian Stephanie Venier was third. Mikaela Shiffrin was 10th in her weakest discipline. Full results are here.

“I am for sure more shocked than everybody here,” Ledecka said. “I was a little bit, not disappointed about the run, but I was not super satisfied. Then I was really surprised about the time.”

Ledecka, an Olympic and world champion in Alpine snowboarding from the Czech Republic, had a previous best Alpine skiing World Cup finish of seventh. The top-ranked racers all go in the top 20 of the start list.

Last season, Ledecka raced more World Cup skiing events than snowboarding events for the first time. She was forced to choose between world championships in skiing and in snowboarding due to schedules and picked the former with a top finish of 15th.

She’s undecided about her upcoming schedule. She could continue on the Alpine skiing tour with a super-G in Switzerland next weekend, or she could fly to Italy for a snowboarding event.

The women race another downhill and a super-G in Lake Louise the next two days. A full TV and live stream schedule for the weekend races is here.

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