‘Watching Roger Federer against Serena Williams great fun,’ says Andy Murray as he calls for mixed event

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Serena Williams and Andy Murray

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has called for a mixed team event to be introduced on to the main tour.

The Scot is currently taking part in the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis at Roehampton – an exhibition event that has pitted the best male and female players from Britain together in a team environment.

Murray may only be playing mixed doubles as he does not want to risk injury ahead of a planned return to the ATP Tour in August, but he is still enjoying the competitive environment and would like to see something implemented on the tour.

“I think sports miss a bit of a trick with this stuff,” Murray said.

“The Hopman Cup, for example, was a brilliant event in my opinion. The players enjoyed it. It sometimes had a little bit of an exhibition feel in some of the matches but that would be my only criticism. I played there a bunch of times and I loved it. It was a great event.

“Putting match-ups in tennis like Serena Williams and Roger Federer on the same court, it is so brilliant for our sport.

“We are able to do that in tennis and I think we should embrace it a little bit more, not necessarily every single week but at times it would be great.

“I would like to see Rafa (Nadal) on the court with some of the top female players.

“When I watched Roger and Serena playing, it was great. They were into it and I’m sure they enjoyed it as well.

Andy Murray and Serena Williams were a hugely popular doubles team at last year's Wimbledon

“Golf is another sport where I think it would be interesting to see a mixed Ryder Cup event.

“Again it’s a sport where they are able to do it and they just miss out a little bit. I do think people really enjoy watching it, and the players like it as well.”

Of the event in Roehampton, which incorporates singles, doubles and mixed doubles, Murray is said he is preferring it to the recent men’s singles version a few weeks ago.

“What you want is to create an environment where everyone is extremely competitive and there is a bit of atmosphere during the matches,” he added.

“I would rather play with eight to 10 players heckling me from the side than playing in silence.

“Ultimately at the end of the day everyone goes home and has had a good day.

 

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“I have got to know the players a bit more and compete with them. I have maybe enjoyed this event more than the previous one. It was silent at the last event. It was good because the matches were competitive but this one maybe is just a bit more fun.”

Murray believes he could have an advantage when the tour does resume next month as he has experience of coming back from long lay-offs.

The ATP Tour has been suspended since March due to coronavirus but it will restart in mid-August with the Southern & Western Open, played on the site of the US Open.

Murray has made several comebacks over the last few years after his run of injuries, but others may not be used to it.

“It will make a difference. You just can’t replicate matches in practice, it just isn’t the same,” he said.

“It is different on the body, on the mind. The pressure is just different and no matter how hard you try to make your practices as challenging and difficult as matches, they just aren’t.

 

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“Some players who have had injury lay-offs will probably be a little bit more experienced in terms of coming back after a long period, but it’s an opportunity for players. There will be upsets for sure.

“Going into the US Open with potentially only one or two matches in the Cincinnati event in New York, it will make for some interesting results, that’s for sure.”

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