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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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Andy Murray hopes to return to singles this year

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LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray says he is playing tennis “pretty much pain-free” and is hoping to compete in singles “at some stage this year.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion says he doesn’t want to put a time frame on when his return to singles would be.

Murray says he is “quite happy just now so I don’t need to play singles after Wimbledon or at the U.S. Open. If I can, that would be brilliant, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think it’s going to take a bit longer.”

Murray underwent hip surgery in January, soon after a tearful news conference at the Australian Open when he said the tournament could be his last after almost two years of injury problems.

The British player is competing in the doubles with Feliciano Lopez at the Queen’s Club grass-court event next week. He then plans to play doubles at Wimbledon.

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Andy Murray signals career resumption rather than retirement

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Andy Murray will indeed play competitive tennis again. Murray intends to play doubles at June’s Queen’s Club Championships, the Wimbledon tune-up tournament confirmed Monday.

“I’m not yet ready to return to the singles court, but I’ve been pain-free for a few months now,” Murray said in a statement. “I’ve made good progress in training and on the practice court, and this is the next step for me as I try to return to the tour.”

It has been reported that Murray’s doubles partner will be Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Before the Australian Open in January, where he lost in the first round, Murray said that he planned to retire at some point in 2019 due to hip problems — and that it was possible that Grand Slam tournament might be the final event of his career.

In early March, Murray said he was pain-free after hip surgery but likely wouldn’t play at Wimbledon. Murray told the BBC then that he wanted to continue playing, but the surgeons “couldn’t give me any guarantees.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion said, “I don’t feel any pressure to come back. If it allows me to play that’s brilliant.”

Murray had an operation to repair his damaged right hip with a metal implant. The 31-year-old said he was without pain for the first time in 18 months but could not do “any high-impact movement.” Murray was seen hitting a serve on a grass court in a video on his Instagram on Saturday.

Murray, who has two daughters, said, “having the surgery was to improve all the day-to-day things and my quality of life.”

Queen’s starts two weeks before the start of Wimbledon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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