With 42 Grand Slam titles and six Olympic gold medals between them, Serena Williams and Andy Murray are lighting up the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. Next they face the top seeds, but the tennis giants are just having fun.
There's an element of fun to Serena Williams and Andy Murray's foray into mixed doubles at Wimbledon this year.
With Murray still on the road to recovery from a potentially career-ending injury, the doubles has been a liberating experience for him and a stepping stone towards a full scale return to the singles tour, potentially as soon as next month's US Open in New York.
For Williams, it's just a whole lot of fun. She was asked by Murray if she'd like to join him and she said "why not?". Following the carneval atmosphere that accompanied the novelty of their first round victory over Alexa Guarachi and German Andreas Mies, each pairing that faces Williams/Murray - or 'MuRena' as Williams has named them - are somewhat honored to share the court with two huge figures in the game.
As they've started to get a sense of what each other does and second guess each other's movements, the pairing are starting to look less like mixed doubles imposters and more like a force to be reckoned with.
They are not the best pairing in the draw – that belongs to top seeds and their next opponents Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar – but they can claim to be the best returners. Mixed doubles simple doesn't often see a pair of players capable of hitting the ball so hard and that alone makes the Scot and American an interesting proposition.
Williams is no stranger to doubles though. She partnered her sister Venus in the women's doubles for many years. And the siblings were successful too, winning 14 titles together across the four majors. On Tuesday, Williams had just come off the back of a grueling three-set win over Alison Riske as she returned to Centre Court with Murray to face Raquel Atawo and Fabrice Martin. The accomplished doubles pairing didn't make it easy, but another straight sets win suggests the duo are finding their feet as a pair.
"I think we're getting into the groove now. We're starting to feel some rhythm so hopefully that can continue," Williams told the BBC after the 7-5 6-3 victory. "I'm having a blast, it's really fun, and there's a great atmosphere out there."
Williams is yet to win a singles title since the birth of her daughter in September 2017 and she says the doubles helps her stay relaxed in her quest to become to first mother to win the Wimbledon singles title since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. For Murray it's more about easing himself back into things slowly. Whatever their reasons, it's a long time since the mixed doubles has kept the crowds at the All England Club beyond 8pm and their next match should determine whether the dream team can go all the way.