Murray hails Serena for ‘incredible achievements’

British star calls American veteran ‘one of the best players’ to have graced tennis court

AFP August 30, 2022


Andy Murray marked the 10th anniversary of his maiden Grand Slam triumph with an impressive first round US Open win on Monday before hailing Serena Williams for her "incredible achievements" and risque jokes that he cannot bring himself to repeat.

The 35-year-old Murray defeated 24th seeded Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, to register his first straight sets win at a Slam since Wimbledon in 2017.

Murray won the first of his three Grand Slams at the US Open in 2012, ending Britain's 76-year wait for a men's champion at the majors.

Serena Williams was also celebrating 10 years ago after winning her fourth title in New York.

Williams is widely expected to bring the curtain down on her career at this year's US Open.

Murray and the American icon teamed up in mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2019 and the British star said he saw a surprising new side to his teammate.

"I didn't really know her that well but I felt like she had a good sense of humor and cracked a few jokes, certainly early in the partnership and helped me quite a lot," said Murray.

"But I can't share them in here, because they were of that nature! I thought that was cool."

Murray described Williams as "one of the best tennis players to have ever played, if not the best on the women's side".

However, he said the contribution of older sister Venus should not be overlooked.

Venus, 42, has seven Slam singles titles to Serena's 23 but they have won 14 doubles crowns playing together at the majors.

That would become 15 if the sisters triumph in New York over the next fortnight.

"When you combine the two, it is even more remarkable, really, and probably unlikely we will see something like that again from two sisters," added Murray.

"I think it's really cool that they are playing doubles together. I think that will be really nice."

On Monday, Murray showed no signs of the recent cramping problems which plagued his hardcourt summer.

But the gruelling encounter with Cerundolo, which opened play on Louis Armstrong court, still left its mark.

"It felt like five sets. They were very tricky conditions, very hot and humid. Just really happy to get through that one."

Murray, who added Wimbledon titles to his majors collection in 2013 and 2016, says he will always fondly remember his 2012 win in New York, secured with a final victory over old rival Novak Djokovic.

"It seems like a long time ago when I won here. A lot has happened in my career since then but it was huge moment for me."

Now ranked 51, Murray will face American wildcard Emilio Nava for a place in the last 32.

Ranked 203 in the world, Nava marked his Grand Slam debut with a five-set win over John Millman of Australia.