Five-time Wimbledon Ladies’ champion Venus Williams was knocked out of the singles draw yesterday but is now looking ahead to playing mixed doubles with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios on Friday.
The veteran will partner with the self-proclaimed tennis ‘bad boy’ for the first time and says she’s excited to play with someone whose game she admires greatly.
“I think that we’re playing together because we both respect each other’s games,” Williams revealed. “I think that’s first and foremost. I’m looking forward to the experience.”
The 41-year-old also explained how the two could complement each other well on the court.
“I think we’re both big servers. We’re both really good returners. We both can come up with shots. The intangibles are there. Hopefully, it will mesh.”
Williams has won six Wimbledon doubles crowns with her sister Serena, though she is yet to win the mixed doubles, having finished as a runner up in 2006.
Nonetheless, with so much experience at the All England Club, the former world number one has stressed she is happy to impart some wisdom to her partner if needed.
“Obviously if I have experience to share, I’m always willing to do that with anyone who might ask me. That’s always a given. I’m always open for that.”
Kyrgios has also spoken of his partnership with the tennis icon and joked that he’d seen a clip of Williams expressing her desire to play with him.
“Well let’s not get this twisted,” the Australian said. “There was an interview that Venus took and she got asked, who would your dream doubles partner be?
“She said, ‘Nick Kyrgios’. So, look, I’m willing to give her any tips she wants.”
The 26-year-old did then clarify that he was “just kidding” and proceeded to praise the American for her longevity in the sport.
“She’s obviously a legend. To see her still gracing the courts of Wimbledon, winning matches at 41… At 41, I don’t think I’ll be able to honestly hit another ball. She’s a legend.
“We’ve been planning to play for a while now at grand slams. It just never worked out.”
The world number 60 then revealed that he’d always longed to play with one of the Williams sisters and hopes the crowd will be on their side when they take to court.
“I’m not sure how long she’ll play for, so before she kind of gives it up, I do want to experience playing with one of the Williams sisters in mixed doubles. Honestly that’s like a dream come true for me.
“They’ve been around for so, so long. I think it will be a bit of fun. I think we’re a bit of a danger pair as well if we serve well. The crowd will definitely get behind us.”
The pair face American duo Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria in the opening round tomorrow. As Kyrgios says, the two are more than capable of stringing together a surprise run, but however long their challenge lasts, it promises to be fascinating to watch.