Williams said she saw recreational mixed doubles being played frequently around her Florida home, but she sounded a more pessimistic note about fitting another competition into crowded tournament schedules.
“The schedule is already so, so difficult,” she said. “It sounds good, it sounds really exciting, but the big question is: Will it work? Will one of the tournaments take a chance on it? Maybe. We’ll have to see. It’s all about trying; who knows if it will work or not?”
One person willing to try is Mark Ein, the longtime owner the Washington Kastles, a World Team Tennis team, who recently bought the ATP-WTA tournament in Washington. Ein was not able to add a mixed doubles event in time for this year’s tournament, which begins on July 29, but remains optimistic for future editions.
“We would love to do a mixed event as part of the D.C. tournament, and we’re actively exploring it,” Ein said. “It just isn’t easy with the schedules, outside of the Grand Slams, to make it work when you have to fit all the matches in a week. Players are somewhat eager to move to the next tournament once they’re out.”
Ein cited the excitement over Williams and Murray, as well as the pairing of Venus Williams and Frances Tiafoe, as reason to invest in the format.
“I think when you look at how fans react to mixed doubles, they love watching it,” Ein said. “When you watch the players play it, you see true joy and love of the game. I think that translates to the fans. It just brings a different, very special element to an event.”
What is next for Murray is unclear. After suggesting in January that he may retire after Wimbledon, he says he is now pain free after a second hip surgery. He won the men’s doubles title with Feliciano López at Queen’s Club last month, but he lost in the second round at Wimbledon with Pierre-Hugues Herbert. On Wednesday, despite persistent questioning, Murray did not offer a timeline for his plans, not even committing to the United States Open in August.