Venus Williams is “thrilled” at her unexpected participation in Wimbledon mixed doubles

The 42-year-old has not played competitively for almost 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 stated she would not be taking part this week but requested a last-minute wildcard entry with Murray and the pair were then announced in Wednesday’s mixed doubles draw.

The popular pairing, cheered on by the crowd, even surprised themselves on Friday as they defeated Alicja Rosolska and Michael Venus 6-3 6-7 (7) 6-3.

“I wasn’t planning to play. I saw the grass and I was excited,” Williams said.

“I’ve been to the French Open, it’s a nice event but my heart wasn’t beating like that. Not that I could play, but…I didn’t have any plans. That’s why I (Murray) asked at the last minute.”

Wimbledon “Priority”

In her career, Williams has won the Wimbledon women’s singles title five times and the doubles title six times, but she never managed to succeed in mixed doubles – she lost in the 2006 final.

Her partner Murray has won five mixed doubles titles, including two at Wimbledon in 2007 and 2017.

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The pair appeared to be working on Friday, with Murray dominating on serve and Venus being sharp at the net.

“It’s one of the few that I haven’t won, so I usually prioritize that a little more,” Williams added.

Just like her sister, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, there’s a feeling this could be one of the last times fans will be able to see Venus at Wimbledon. Williams, 40, lost to France’s Harmony Tan in her opening round match 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 at the last minute. Inspired only by Serena. Like I said, it was amazing. I was just so lucky to have so much help today,” she said.

The pair now meet British duo Alicia Barnett and Jonny O’Mara in the round of 16 on Sunday.